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Report says Internet hate speech can lead to acts of violence

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Report says Internet hate speech can lead to acts of violence

Anti-Muslim hate speech on the Internet is commonplace and can motivate some people to commit acts of violence against Muslims, according to a report released Tuesday (May 6) by Muslim Advocates, a legal and advocacy group in San Francisco.

“When you have threatening comments online and they go unchecked, people start thinking it’s acceptable,” said Madihha Ahussain, an attorney and the report’s lead author. “And it doesn’t take long to figure out that what becomes acceptable online becomes acceptable in the real world.”

The report contains examples of hate speech and how it can lead to violence, as well as how victims of online hate speech can report it and counter it. The report aims to help educate parents, students, youth, community leaders, Internet companies and policymakers on how to counter online hate speech.

Ahussain said that anti-Muslim websites give like-minded people a place to gather and at the same time win new supporters through their posts. As an example, Ahussain cited the Facebook page of anti-Muslim blogger Pamela Geller, which she said grew from roughly 19,000 followers in July 2013 to some 78,000 people as of late April.

The report also cites the example of Robert James Talbot Jr., a Texas man who created a Facebook page for the American Insurgent Movement, whose stated aim was to start a revolution and overthrow the U.S. government. Talbot was a regular reader of Geller’s Atlas Shrugs blog. FBI agents arrested Talbot on March 27 on allegations that he plotted to blow up mosques and other buildings.

The report said most social media platforms include features where people can report what they perceive to be violations of speech guidelines. “I believe they take this very seriously because they want to have a place where people don’t feel threatened by others,” Ahussain said.

Huffington Post, 6 May 2014

See also “Groundbreaking report exposes anti-Muslim hate online”, Muslim Advocates press release, 6 May 2014

Download the report here.





9 Comments »

  1. Hateful bastards need to be sued

  2. This doesn’t just apply to anti-Muslim hate speech, but to any speech that promotes misunderstanding, hatred, and violence against people – because of their gender, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, ethnicity, etc.

  3. Personally, and I know I’ve said this on this page before, I don’t care who you are, where you’re from, why you’re from their, whatever ideology/religion you choose to fallow. If you’re a somewhat decent human being to me, I’ll be a somewhat decent human being to you (odvious it goes both up and down the scale). Living in the ‘Bible Belt’ of the United States of America, I hear hate speech a lot, which I personally find funny when they condem me for _______ (insert reason that isn’t against local, state or federal law). We need to focus more on facts and move away from the fear of the unknown. We (most of the US population) fear what we don’t understand, and we (most of the US population) chose to try and remove the object that caused fear, rather than learn about it and try to figure it out.

  4. the only way to fight bigotry is through education. But bigots are ignorant. Stupid is a lack of education, but ignorance is a refusal to learn.

  5. Please take me off your list. I am not interested in your ads or comments

  6. nuke iran

  7. What about the hate speech in the Koran telling Muslims to kill non-Muslims?

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