Over the last decade, social media has fundamentally changed the way people communicate and access information around the world. While social media platforms provide new forums for constructive dialogue and personal expression, they are also used to proliferate dangerous online speech. Dangerous speech is defined as “any form of expression that can increase the risk that its audience will condone or commit violence against members of another group.”
The team was tasked with understanding how dangerous speech shared on social media has intensified identity-based violence in Brazil, the Philippines, and Nigeria. Each case study in the report investigated the national social media landscape, the weaponization of social media, and provided an analysis of how dangerous speech has contributed to specific cases of identity based-violence within that country. For each of the case studies, a five-part qualitative framework was used to analyze dangerous speech involved in an identity-based conflict in each country. The framework examined the message itself, the audience, the historical and social context of the message, the speaker, and the medium with which a speaker delivers a message. The medium analyzed in this report is online social media platforms. The team found that speech alone does not cause violence, yet it can increase the risk that violence or physical harm against certain populations will be committed or condoned. The Dangerous Speech Framework provided a baseline with which to understand the mechanisms and motivations for dangerous speech, as well as possible opportunities for intervention.