LIRNEasia is a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank active across the Asia Pacific

What is the antidote to hate speech on social media?

We only have the work of our MIDO colleagues in the realm of dealing with hate speech. Everyone knows it’s bad, but one man’s hate speech could be another’s free expression. But here is an approach, untested as yet. I am sure Phyu Phyu Thi will be interested in any responses.

Counter speech was the main topic when Ms. Bickert, Facebook’s head of global policy management, gathered her team in late December. Two Wall Street Journal reporters attended the meeting, where the group discussed plans to encourage counter speech with competitions.

Members also debated how to raise the visibility of counter speech on Facebook and Instagram. Once such content is created, “How do you get it to the right people?” Ms. Bickert asked.

In one strategy, Facebook last year allowed former members of right-wing and Islamist extremist groups to create fake accounts – which the social network usually prohibits – to send private messages to current members of those groups. The messages prompted more, and longer-lasting, conversations than researchers expected, according to Ross Frenett, who conducted the test as a fellow at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a London-based think tank that studies violent extremism.

Facebook also has provided ad credits of up to $1,000 to counter speakers, including German comedian Arbi el Ayachi. Last year, Mr. el Ayachi filmed a video to counter claims from a Greek right-wing group that eating halal meat is poisonous to Christians. The one-minute video “was our take on how humor can be used to diffuse a false claim,” Mr. el Ayachi said.

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