Fighting online hate speech and fake news in a global crisis

8 Apr 2020 | Online

Whereas the Internet is a powerful communication tool that allows users to voice their opinions, receive information within seconds, and engage with others, it is also widely misused and manipulated. Content challenges such as fake news, disinformation campaigns, and online hate speech are increasingly common these days. These challenges are far from recent developments; the outbreak of the coronavirus has only accelerated this ‘infodemic’, while the growth in online acts of hate speech – in particular towards Asian people – have contributed to the ‘coronaracism’ phenomenon.

In order to curb down the spread of false information, xenophobia, and online intolerance, governments worldwide have or are taking steps to enact legislation which sanctions such conduct. The private sector, led by tech giants Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Apple, has also taken the initiative to help fight some of the most pervasive challenges of the digital era.

That being said, online content regulation brings other human rights issues into perspective and raises concerns over potential violations of other fundamental freedoms, namely, the right to freedom of expression and the right to access information.

This Wednesday web chat ‘Right on’ will discuss these prevailing issues and how they affect us – particularly during a crisis, as well as what lessons we can draw from our experience in attempting to effectively address fake news and online hate speech.

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