The corrosive role social media can play in the dissemination of hate and incitement to violence has become painfully obvious in recent years: In Myanmar, Facebook’s reach was exploited to carry out a hate campaign against the Rohingya people; in the Christchurch Mosque Shootings, a gunman broadcast his actions live on Facebook; and in the aftermath of the Sri Lanka Easter Bombings, social media was used to incite violence against Muslim citizens. Online hate speech and its spillover effects into the physical world pose a challenge that modern societies are yet to effectively counter.
This first part of the Deep Dive focuses on whether and how regulatory frameworks for social media should be established to deal with online hate speech and its potentially violent effects. Does regulation pose a necessary remedy to curtail online hate speech? Or does it present a pathway into censorship, infringing on the right to freedom of expression?