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Hate Speech against Refugees in Social Media

Racist hate speech against refugees is a daily occurrence in the social networks. This hate speech needs to be opposed. Only how? This brochure provides an overview of what can specifically be done if once again racist hate speech is encountered on the internet.

Since increasing numbers of refugees* have been seeking protection from war and persecution in the German-speaking nations, the social networks have exploded. All and sundry have opinions of their own, warnings, worries, abundant hate and even more fury. In many forms, users encounter explicitly racist and anti-refugee statements and comments, or are actively involved in these. For a long time now, right-wing extremists and neo-Nazi free comradeships have been agitating on social networks, purposefully setting out their position on issues such as protecting the German way of life, recruiting followers, and disseminating right-wing ideology and propaganda. In the context of the public debate concerning the refugee crisis, the strategy is now beginning to take effect: right-wing extremist language and images have within a relatively short time re-established themselves in the societal mainstream through social media, and have become the normality in daily conversations regarding refugees and migration. Young and less-well-informed people, in particular, can be influenced by hate speech against refugees in the social media. Often, it would appear that those disseminating hatred of refugees are in the majority. They are more vociferous, more dominant, and thus quite deliberately intimidate others as well. Social media facilitate mutual feedback and networking, which means they can also be utilized for disseminating racist hate speech and recruiting converts. In worst case, this may even lead to actual violence – not online, but offline. Clausnitz, Freital and other places bear eloquent witness to this. And it’s precisely because hate speech ineluctably translates into real violence against human beings that many users are simply overwhelmed by the vehemence of misanthropic hate speech directed against refugees. They want to oppose this right-wing vituperation, take appropriate action, refute it, but don’t know exactly how to go about it.

This brochure explores the options for confronting racist hate speech. How do I report racist posts? How can I file a criminal complaint? What do I have to bear in mind here? And what do I have to do when I find myself in the line of fire? The brochure is aimed at anyone interested and at the many committed refugee helpers, who want to confront racist hate speech online, who need to get to grips with the paramount question: what can we do? There are in fact many different options for opposing hatred: delete it, block it, ignore it, discuss it, refute it, complain to the authorities.

The brochure accordingly provides an overview of how racist hate speech can be recognized, reported and referred to the public prosecutors. It also covers self-protection and the publication of racist hate speech. The brochure has been created by the debate/dehate team of the Amadeu Antonio Foundation. The project is sincerely grateful to the Freudenberg Foundation for the financing provided.



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