Monitoring Hate Speech and the Limits of Current Definition

April 27, 2023

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Current definitions of hate speech are inadequate as the basis for monitoring hate speech targeted at groups. First, they do not capture escalating group-targeted negative speech which can be a precursor to more extreme forms of hate speech such as dehumanization, demonization, and incitement to violence. While not hate speech, such negative speech is an early warning that could be helpful for a hate speech monitoring system to track, as responses and interventions, especially to the offline harms of hate speech, can take time to operationalize. Second, current definitions of hate speech do not capture hateful rhetoric aimed at groups not traditionally included in hate speech definitions (those without immutable qualities), such as groups targeted for hate based on profession-based identity like journalists. This chapter presents some suggestions for addressing these issues, including a hate speech intensity scale.

You can access this chapter in Volume 12 of Challenges and Perspectives of Hate Speech Research.