The recent European Commission Communication COM (2017) 555 of 29 September 2017, Combating illegal content online. Towards greater accountability of online platforms, cites the fact that some 8,000 tweets on Twitter, some 1,000 photos on Instagram, 60,000 Google searches and 70,000 YouTube videos are currently published every second. According to the Communication itself, “it is worrying to think of the enormous amount of illegal content that can be published and disseminated online every day”. It is important to note that “What is illegal in the real world is also illegal in the virtual world”- Incitement to hatred, racist and xenophobic speech inciting violence are illegal in the EU and must therefore also be pursued on online platforms.

Faced with the growing challenge of online hate speech, national institutions and authorities in Spain do not yet have coordinated strategies for action. The efforts made by Spanish institutions in recent years to adapt regulations and legislation to these challenges must be acknowledged, but in the specific case of online hate speech it is necessary to strengthen coordination and the establishment of joint action strategies.

This coordination and dialogue for common action should not be confined to the institutional sphere, but should be a strategy that includes all sectors, especially civil society organisations active in this field and the online platforms themselves, in order to establish a solid basis for dialogue and cooperation between all parties involved in the prevention of online hate speech.

Aims

Improve the capacities of State authorities to identify, analyse, monitor and evaluate online hate speech in order to design shared strategies against discourse motivated by racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia or anti-Semitism. Discuss and generate a protocol containing search criteria and indicators to identify and measure hate speech on the web, also designing warning indicators, through which the intensity, severity, distribution and potential impact of hate speech can be evaluated, in order to establish recommendations for action based on them.

Specific aims

  1. Generate a computer tool that allows the systematic collection, compilation and analysis of hate speech propagated through new media and social networks.
  2. Establish and/or strengthen synergies between institutional actors and key actors (including civil society) to assess the dissemination and damage caused by hate speech, to design shared strategies for work and coordinated action, as well as measures to discourage its use and reduce and repair the damage caused.
  3. Disseminate the project and analyse the transferability of its main products at European level, in order to multiply the impacts, both at national level and in other Member States.

WP2. Protocol and indicators

The aim is to develop an action protocol containing a system of indicators, with search criteria, on speeches that promote racism, xenophobia and hatred on the net. The system will include early warning indicators to assess the intensity, severity, distribution, and potential impact of hate speech, in order to establish recommendations for action and to prevent possible discriminatory incidents or hate crimes.

To this end, experiences and good practices developed in the European Union will be analysed, enabling progress to be made in the elaboration of the protocol and the system of indicators. This identification of experiences will serve as a basis for the discussion and classification of indicators.

WP3. Computer tool

The aim of this work package is to program a computer algorithm for the monitoring and identification of hate speech on social networks, especially Twitter and Facebook. This algorithm will be implemented using the programming language R and / or Python, widely used in science and big data analysis.

WP4. Design of shared strategies

Establish and/or reinforce synergies between institutional actors and key actors (including groups affected by hate speech and civil society) in order to assess the dissemination and damage caused by hate speech, to be able to design Shared Strategies that seek to discourage the use of hate speech and reduce and repair the damage caused.