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There has been a sharp increase in hate speech across the world in recent years, especially in online spaces, which has been further exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. To try to counter this trend, the United Nations has declared 18 June to be the International Day for Countering Hate Speech.

To help raise awareness on the implications of hate speech and how to counter it, APC is organising a social media campaign with a focus on the online/offline components, on 17 and 18 June. Join us to share thoughts on:

  • The impact of hate speech (day 1)

  • Responses/solutions to counter it (day 2).

Where? We will be mostly focusing on social media platforms - Twitter and Instagram - but feel free to share elsewhere, including via email or messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Telegram or Signal. We particularly encourage sharing through other alternative spaces, such as Mastodon and other FLOSS platforms.

Hashtags: #NoToHate (official UN hashtag) #ChallengeHateOnline (APC campaign hashtag)

Languages: We encourage you to share thoughts, stories, videos and any type of content in the language you're most comfortable. From the APC accounts, we'll be sharing content in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese.

Multimedia materials: See visuals with key messages for day 1 and day 2.

On 17 June, at 10 UTC, we will have a live chat on Instagram with members of our network. Follow it here.
Messages - ready to share


How does hate speech affect vulnerable communities? 

  • Hate speech has serious consequences for those targeted, especially when it targets vulnerable groups, including women, minorities and activists exercising dissent.  #NotoHate #ChallengeHateOnline

  • Hate speech results not only in direct violence and harassment, but also in self-censorship and trauma. Online hate has offline/physical effects. #NotoHate #ChallengeHateOnline

  • Hate speech can lead to acts of discrimination and violence. In its most extreme expressions, it can escalate to pogroms and genocide against vulnerable communities. #NotoHate #ChallengeHateOnline

  • Hate speech not only hurts, but also prepares the ground for hostility. It allows for greater acceptance of discrimination and violence by condoning such acts. #NotoHate #ChallengeHateOnline

  • In many countries, social media is being used as a tool to mobilise hatred by powerful, well-resourced and coordinated groups. #NotoHate #ChallengeHateOnline

  • Hate speech is often directed against individuals and communities promoting diverse ideologies, ways of life or dissenting from mainstream opinion or behaviour, especially those belonging to religious, ethnic and gender minorities. #NotoHate #ChallengeHateOnline

  • Hate speech and gendered disinformation often intersect. Gendered disinformation can contribute to hate speech against women and gender-diverse individuals and communities. Both are forms of gender-based violence, which have been amplified by the expansion of the internet and social media. #NotoHate #ChallengeHateOnline

  • States and social media companies have a responsibility to protect those targeted from hate speech online; however their response so far has been insufficient and inadequate. #NotoHate #ChallengeHateOnline

  • The LGBTIQ community is particularly vulnerable to hate speech. According to GLAAD’s Social Media Safety Index, in 2021 LGBTQ people experienced  disproportionately higher online hate, 64% compared to the 41% experienced by the general population. #NotoHate #ChallengeHateOnline

  • In countries without affirmative LGBTIQ laws, hate speech makes the internet as unsafe as physical spaces. Often, the digital space is one of the few places where LGBTIQ persons can connect and access information and express themselves. #NotoHate #ChallengeHateOnline

  • There was an exponential increase in transphobic and homophobic comments and anti-LGBTIQ and anti-gender pages and handles on social media platforms during the COVID-19 pandemic and related lockdowns in various countries. #NotoHate #ChallengeHateOnline

  • In the Philippines, Maria Ressa (@MariaRessa on Twitter), journalist, CEO of social media news site Rappler and Nobel Peace Prize winner has been the subject and target of hate speech online by supporters of the president, with a clear effect on her life, well-being and ability to do her work. #NotoHate #ChallengeHateOnline

  • Hate speech continues to increase in the Philippines, with women and minority groups targeted the most. People like @MariaRessa have been the target of hate speech online by supporters of the president, with a clear effect on their lives, well-being and ability to do their work. #NotoHate #ChallengeHateOnline

  • In India, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a huge wave of hate speech against minority Muslims in the country. Social media was used to disseminate disinformation and incite hatred through:

    • inaccurate context

    • misrepresentation and impersonation

    • distortion of genuine speech

    • creation of fake content designed to provoke

    • amplification of hate speech by prominent individuals.

#NotoHate #ChallengeHateOnline. (From Contagion of hate report

  • Facebook was been blamed by UN investigators for playing a determining role in possible genocide in Myanmar. “In the case of Myanmar, social media is Facebook, and Facebook is social media. It has substantively contributed to the level of acrimony and dissension and conflict, within the public.” (Marzuki Darusman, chair of the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar). #NotoHate #ChallengeHateOnline. (From the report Facebook and the monetisation of hate: The way forward for holding platforms accountable

  • As human rights organisation @7amleh's research reveals, more than 71% of Palestinians consider that hate speech against them is spreading on social media platforms; 85.7% affirm they have been the subject of hate speech on Facebook, with Instagram (@7amleh) coming in second at 11.4%. #NotoHate #ChallengeHateOnline

  • Hate speech against Palestinians on social media platforms has physical, “real-life” effects. It passes down from generation to generation through discriminatory speech and has become a part of the widely circulated historical narrative. #NotoHate #ChallengeHateOnline

  • As part of their efforts to build a #KinderInternet, Pakistan-based @mmfd_Pak has conducted online polls, both on Twitter and Instagram . Most of the voters agreed that they feel unsafe on the internet. #NotoHate #ChallengeHateOnline



What are some community responses to hate speech online? 

  • Hate speech requires holistic responses, including responses that address structural discrimination and inequality. #NotoHate #ChallengeHateOnline

  • Hate speech practice is connected to power and abuse of power. Hate speech is a symptom of systematic violence, marginalisation or oppression that some people face more than others. #NotoHate #ChallengeHateOnline

  • There are many calls for states to draft legislation to help regulate content. However, for many minorities and vulnerable communities, their very identities are criminalised by states. In these cases, regulation can end up resulting in increased risk for and criminalisation of minorities. #NotoHate #ChallengeHateOnline

  • Propagation of hate speech is often organised, planned and prefabricated. We need counter-organisation strategies to address that as an imperative to imagine a better world. (from Reflections on hate #NotoHate #ChallengeHateOnline 

  • To respond to hate speech, it is key to boost affected communities’ abilities to create their own narratives and tell and spread their stories. #NotoHate #ChallengeHateOnline

  • Philippines-based @fma_ph has created comics on hate speech to help create an understanding of hate and hate speech in the Philippines. In this context, hate speech usually targets women and minority groups. The comics, published on @GenderITorg, highlight the narratives of women and minority groups. (link will be shared on 15 June here) #NotoHate #ChallengeHateOnline

  • The KinderInternet campaign, launched by Pakistan-based @MMfD_Pak, offers responses to the increase in hate speech on social media, including pledges by concerned users. See some examples on the following posts on Instagram (@mmfd_pak):

#NotoHate #ChallengeHateOnline 

What should governments do to counter hate speech online?

  • Regulate some minimum transparency standards required from social media platforms. Social media platforms are often very closed about data that can be crucial for researchers and human rights defenders. We need platforms to be more transparent and states should address this. #NotoHate #ChallengeHateOnline

  • Establish clear rules concerning businesses’ obligation to respect human rights standards, including in relation to human rights due diligence and impact assessments. #NotoHate #ChallengeHateOnline

  • Avoid increasingly authoritarian regulations that are overly broad, vague and intended to control the internet. This is not the way to tackle the hate speech-related issues that social media companies are contributing to. #NotoHate #ChallengeHateOnline

What should corporations do to counter hate speech online?

  • Train content moderators on hate speech. There should be training regarding human rights standards and how these standards should serve to guide them in the moderation. #NotoHate #ChallengeHateOnline

  • Proritise human moderation of hate speech. Ensure human review rather than simply leaving this to algorithms. #NotoHate #ChallengeHateOnline

  • Adopt content moderation policies that are aligned with international human rights standards. #NotoHate #ChallengeHateOnline

  • Be aware and attentive to local languages and local contexts. Some types of hate speech can only by identified by someone with knowledge of the local social-cultural context, tensions and history. #NotoHate #ChallengeHateOnline

  • Be transparent about hate speech cases and how they were handled, so that researchers and civil society groups can learn more and better engage in proposing meaningful solutions. #NotoHate #ChallengeHateOnline

  • Have clear and easy-to-access complaint and redress mechanisms. #NotoHate #ChallengeHateOnline

  • Digital-based services and companies must recognise and adhere to their responsibility to respect the human rights of their users and others impacted by their operations, in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. #NotoHate #ChallengeHateOnline



This social media kit is also available in Japanese, courtesy of APC member JCA-NET.