Loving out loud in a time of hate

Short thesis

Germany is one of several countries pushing legislation that requires corporations to "tackle" hate speech. But is censorship really the answer to a growing societal problem?


Hate is on the rise. In the United States, white supremacists feel empowered to march in the street. In Europe, the refugee crisis has emboldened anti-migrant politicians. And online, hate spews forth from every dark corner of the Internet.

It is all too tempting to submit to the state, or big corporations, and appeal to them to censor hateful voices. Germany is one of several countries currently pushing legislation that would require online intermediaries—like Twitter and Facebook—to "tackle" hate speech. These government-led efforts seek to fight back against hate speech by employing humans and algorithms to review hateful content, hiding it from the eyes of their Global North citizens.

But is censorship the answer to this growing societal problem? What does it mean when we employ foreign laborers to view and delete horrors from our social media feeds? Can censorship even be effective in stopping hate, or do we as a society need to think creatively about new ways to "combat" the growing scourge of hateful content online (and off)?

This talk will address the real effects of hate speech on various communities, what is currently being done, and what else we might do to stop hate. It will also address the unintended consequences that come from relying on private industry to solve big societal problems.