5 Ways to deal with hate speech on social media


Social media is a golden platform for connecting people and allowing them to network, share news and air their personal opinions. Unfortunately, it is often also filled with negativity. One such negative aspect of social media is hate speech. Hate speech incites violence, intolerance and toxicity. Its scale and impact are now amplified by new communications technologies. Hate speech has become one of the most common ways of spreading divisive rhetoric on a global scale, threatening peace around the world.

It has now become an everyday occurrence online that people announce their hate for all members of a certain ethnic group, race or religion just out of the blue. Whether hate speech targets a single person or a group of people, it is undeniably destructive and violent.

People can save themselves from this trolling and hate on social platforms in the following ways: -


Limit the use of social media- 

The huge volume of information on the Internet may have played its part in inciting hate speech. Many individuals still harbour prejudiced feelings towards members of certain demographic groups. Hence, it is equally essential for us to keep a safe distance from these applications. We can successfully achieve this by turning off the social media notifications on our cell phones and also keeping a check on the duration for which we use social media. 


Accepting healthy criticism by not confusing it with hate- 

We must understand that the person offering constructive criticism does not intend to make us feel bad about ourselves. Rather, they recognize our strengths and are giving us the tools to recognize and overcome weaknesses. It’s up to us to turn that feedback into something positive that motivates us to keep working hard and to improve.


Getting involved in constructive discussions only- 

We can indulge in good practices for discouraging online hate including replacing negativity with positivity and using counter-speech through hashtags and digital allyship to respond to hateful posts. Social media users themselves have the power to influence digital culture, amplify marginalized voices, and build more empathic and inclusive online communities.


Not losing cool over inflammatory posts-

Social media encourage and even guilt people into reacting quickly. Inflammatory posts that garner a lot of attention and provoke people are often used purposefully as a way to solicit young people to join their online forums and communities. Trolling is deliberately putting out enraging comments to cause outrage. Young people may fall prey to these posts and engage in conversations where they are being manipulated or victimized, often without realizing it.
 
Awareness, as a first step, can help us monitor our own reactions to posts more effectively; and it can also help us decide whether conversations are put out by safe and well-meaning groups rather than ones instigating hatred.


Beware of the legal actions against online bullying-

Children and young people have the right to be protected from all forms of discrimination, both online and offline, as do adults. To know what constitutes a hateful post, it is also important to differentiate it from what is typically referred to as cyberbullying. Know these five Indian laws to fight against cyberbullying

Social media can become a nuisance in your life if you do not know how to deal with the unprecedented situations arising from social media trolling and hate speech. Follow these above tips to protect against such troubles in the future.

Contributed by -Avi Agnihotri

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