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Words Are Stones

Words Are Stones

Recently, the continuous growth of Internet as a mean of communication, along with the anonymity that it provides, has enabled the proliferation of hate-based activities in cyberspace, such as harassment and expressions of hate, which are now located beyond the realms of traditional Law Enforcement methods and Law prosecution/ or under an incipient form of incrimination.

Since social networks have become an instrument to spread xenophobia, hate, and abuse against minorities and of minors, the need to combat hatred comments online is increasing and our project focuses mostly on this.

As described, hate speech, which incites to violence and hatred, particularly online, is seen as increasingly worrying, and now constituting the main source of hate incidents. So, the role of online intermediaries/platforms (e.g. Google, Facebook and Twitter) in removing hate speech is therefore considered as central and the dialogue with IT sector (companies, actors, professionals) on how to address hate speech online has to be addressed more efficiently.

The project organises thus its main objective around the idea of combatting racism and discrimination in their online expression of hate speech by equipping young social media strategists/managers, bloggers, online activists, youtubers and young people in general with the competences necessary to recognize and act against such human rights violations. Central to the project’s philosophy is the idea that online space is public space where human rights apply there as much in the rest of society.

The specific objectives of the project are:

  • To engage with young social media strategists/managers, bloggers, online activities, youtubers in order to develop competences and tools to take action for human rights in online space;
  • To motivate young people to discuss and act against online hate speech and thus to create a network of 100 human rights activists against racism and discrimination.

Expected results:

  • Improved knowledge on relations between offline-online hate speech thanks to young social media strategists/managers, bloggers, online activists, youtubers well trained on defending human rights on line and on how to manage “trolls”, “haters”, hate posts/discussion.
  • Increased awareness of young people about the danger that the online hate speech presents thanks to particular methods of the project.
  • Young people will contribute to make internet a safer space for their peers thanks to their direct involvement in the campaign.
  • Trained social media strategists/managers, bloggers, online activities, youtubers will become trainers in national editions of the course so to initiate a process of cascade training to mobilize and engage a wider number of actors in the field and young people.

The project contribution to this area will be:

  • to build expertise in the field of monitoring of (online) hate speech;
  • to improve knowledge on relations between offline-online hate speech;
  • to develop participant’s knowledge, skills and attitudes needed for the promotion and protection of human rights in online environments;
  • to motivate and empower participants to take actions against hate speech online;
  • to contribute to the democratic governance of the internet and to make a safer public space by mobilising young people to defend human rights online;
  • the notion, dimension and form of (online) hate speech as a threat to a culture of human rights are clarified and made applicable to online space;
  • young people contribute to internet governance processes and to making the internet a safer space for youth participation.

Innovative aspects of the project lie in the approach used to combat racism and discrimination in their expression of hate speech. Other than organizing courses for the young social media strategists/managers, bloggers, online activists, youtubers, the project introduces some particulars methods, regarding:

  • Global inclusion and multi-stakeholder approach in the composition of the focus groups and the participating classes in the courses
  • Train the trainers methodology with project work aimed to explore European and national successful and unsuccessful cases
  • Social engagement platform to speed learning and project sharing
  • Social learning, learning through the comparison of the other participants
  • Creation of the role of the ”ally”, an actor active in reporting and implementing the lines guides on how to manage (online) hate speech
  • Hate speech Combat/Stand-against award to disseminate best practices through the active participation of the users and key actors.