Hate Speech In Internet

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The online hate speech is a branch of the more general concept of hate speech, and because of its rapid and constant development, it is extremely difficult to keep it under control. The double-edged weapon of online communication is the incredible ease with which one can express his thought immediately, freely, remotely and anonymously. And users who are accustomed to making hate speech, not only have the intention to offend or discriminate others, but to incite other users to produce discriminatory comments.By now, web users tend to see hate comments as something acceptable that cannot be countered, and this is how the culture of hatred — that undermines individual rights, security and public order — is born and spread.

Since the beginning, the Internet was supposed to be the place where individuals could enjoy maximum freedom in all its expressions. Through social platforms and personal blogs, every user has the right to express his opinion and consideration without any obstacle, and the comments of any citizen have the same value as those expressed by political and intellectual personalities. Indeed, we are witnessing the phenomenon called “digital democracy”, in which politicians prefer to communicate with voters via the web: for example, through Facebook and Twitter, citizens organize themselves for social movements and campaigns. Through the Internet, the barriers imposed by national and international newspapers — that are controlled by the policies of the States — have been broken down. The main problem is the strong unilateralism and the decreasing of the exchange of ideas between citizens: web users tend not to pay attention to comments and ideas of others, focusing only on their own opinion.

Although at the beginning the web was conceived as an idyllic place — where it was possible to achieve total equality of gender, sex and race — with its evolution into the Web 2.0., that gave users the ability to interact and to provide content, an opposite effect emerged, because discrimination has developed and has become more incisive: “The Internet offers a cloak of anonymity which often leads people to type things they would never say to someone’s face. Even in its infancy, the Internet became a powerful vehicle for hate”.

Indeed, the world of the Internet is still expanding, which is why the States are struggling to create ad hoc rules and the users themselves cannot understand how to exploit it in a profitable and secure way. In addition to states, international organizations are also trying to develop appropriate rules, through soft law rules with their internal policies. Indeed, the traditional approach of territorial physical jurisdiction is not suitable to regulate the virtual and boundless nature of cyberspace. Given the degeneration of the critical situation regarding hate speech, associations of private citizens have been created with the aim of defending the rights of citizens who were victims of haters. One of them, called #odiareticosta, was born in Italy and to date has received about twenty-four thousand reports. The association is composed of lawyers, intellectuals, philosophers, psychologists, who hinder the spread of the hate speech through cultural and legal actions.

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