New publications examine harmful speech online

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These new papers include exploration of the challenges of defining hate speech, assessment of efforts to address racist speech online in South America, and consideration of the legal foundations of harmful speech regulation in India.

The Harmful Speech Online project at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University is pleased to announce a new set of publications authored by a global and multidisciplinary group of project collaborators within our community. Harmful speech is proliferating online, and calls to restrain it come from virtually every country and community. Over the past several years, harmful speech online has received much more public and media attention and has emerged as one of the central challenges for Internet policy experts, often pitting protections for freedom of expression online against the rights and interests of those that are subject to online harassment.

This collection of publications includes an assessment of the efforts of civil society organizations to address racist speech in Brazil and Colombia; a study of the legal foundations of harmful speech regulation in India; a paper that explores the definitional and framing questions that complicate efforts to study and address harmful speech online; and a research note that offers reflections and observations on the state of research related to harmful speech online. The perspectives outlined here are grounded in the lessons from a year of exploratory work in the field.