Hate speech is speech with hurtful content which aims to attack individuals or groups. It encompasses all forms of speech, including the written form, gestures or comments posted on social media platforms.
Hate speech posted online is often directed at minorities, including women, members of the LGBT community, people with special needs and/or foreigners. Additionally, it takes aim at religion, race or ideology. Often, hate speech threatens the individual or group and calls for violent behavior. The persecution of hate speech worldwide depends on the jurisdiction of the respective country. In 2016, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter agreed on an EU Code of Conduct which calls for the majority of illegal hate content to be erased within 24 hours of posting. Germany is one of the countries where hate speech can be prosecuted in cases of libel, incitement and insult. This page collates DW content on hate speech.
Facebook is facing court action from a German far-right parliamentarian who accuses it of failing to fully delete hate speech. Remarks were erased from view within Germany but are allegedly still visible abroad.
Two new studies have revealed how small groups of far-right activists spread hate speech before Germany's election last year. Their highly organized approach and hierarchical structure reportedly amplified the effect.