CONNEKT researcher Aida Traidi at a RAN's event on combatting online hate speech
CONNEKT researcher Aida Traidi at a RAN's event on combatting online hate speech

At the recent Radicalisation Awareness Network’s Young Platform event in Zagreb on 2-3 May, Aida Traidi, a researcher of the Horizon2020 project CONNEKT, contributed to shed light on combating online hate speech in times of war and international conflicts.

Drawing from the extensive research conducted as part of the CONNEKT project, Traidi offered recommendations aimed at empowering youth to prevent the proliferation of online hate and radicalisation. Central to her discourse and the discussions held in Zagreb were the nuanced challenges surrounding the definition, monitoring, and regulation of hate speech in the online sphere.

The event highlighted that In times of war and international conflict, addressing the complexities associated with hate speech becomes even more challenging, underscoring the heightened dissemination of disinformation and the surge in polarisation and emotional fervor.

It was also addressed during the discussions the blurred lines between freedom of expression and hate speech, highlighting the conundrum of ‘awful but lawful’ content—material that skirts the boundaries of legality while propagating hateful ideologies. To counteract such narratives, it was stressed the pivotal role of fostering intercultural dialogue and understanding.

Delving into the mechanics of online platforms, it was discussed how certain social media entities capitalise on hate for financial gain, amplifying divisive content to bolster engagement and revenue. Participants cautioned against the allure of reactionary responses, urging individuals to resist the temptation of engaging with hateful comments, as even negative interactions contribute to the virality of such content.

In a landscape rife with polarization, hate may seem omnipresent, but it’s crucial to recognise the subtleties and nuances that often go unnoticed, so the meeting remarked the imperative need to amplify voices of reason and empathy.