Reporting Hate Speech

This is a subject that has come up a few times, often very frustrating when someone comes to you saying there is something online, either a personal attack or one broadly at the persons race or sexual orientation. If the abuse can be seen as Hate Speech, as it very often does, I can usually say “report them”. It can actually be very effective.

reported for hatespeech

Of course it’s a completely different matter if the person making the abusive remarks or allowing them to be made are well known and the comments are libelous and/or slanderous, both criminal and civil law offer avenues for justice which have in the past proved very effective. I will address Libel and Slander in another post. But while on the subject though I would suggest that any online author that is not able to effectively monitor comments add this disclaimer:

  • NOTE: The Comments section is provided in the interests of free speech only. It is mostly unmoderated, but comments that are off topic, offensive, slanderous, or otherwise annoying stand a chance of being deleted. The fact that any comment remains on the site IN NO WAY constitutes an endorsement by “this website”, or “me” or any other contributor, of any view expressed, fact alleged, or link provided in that comment.

On any blog if the offending abuse can be classed as Hate Speech is a comment on a post, you should of course firstly bring to the attention of the blog owner. If that does not work or the abuse is within actually part of a post and the sites are hosted on WordPress or Blogger these are the reporting procedures.

If the site is hosted by a third party hosting company, each of these have their own reporting procedures, I can’t list them all, there are thousands but the most popular is Godaddy who have a form here but are not known to act on most reports. You will need to find out who the hosting company is first by doing a search here, the registrar is normally also the hosting company, any more would be beyond the scope of this post.

The biggest requests for support come from posts on social networks, if a post or comment is physically threatening, of course your first point of call should be your local police. If it’s online bullying that could be construed as hate speech, these should be reported using the online tools, it is worth doing; single serious offenses and repeat abusers lose their accounts, and of course you have a paper trail if things escalate, keep screenshots of the abuse as it may not be available to you later. Here are the most popular social networks abuses reporting procedures:

Strange, but I have also seen some quite nasty abuse on the comments to comments of YouTube videos, they have been fast to act. Some of the available reporting procedures here: YouTube

This advice is nowhere near comprehensive but does cover some of the issues I have had firsthand experience of when it comes to combatting personal attacks on the Internet.

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