ADL’s “Viral Hate” Now Available in Bookstores » ADL Blogs
Article posted in: ADL on the Frontline, Anti-Semitism
June 4, 2013 0

ADL’s “Viral Hate” Now Available in Bookstores

Abe Foxman's & Christopher Wolf's book: "Viral Hate"

Two lead­ing experts on big­oted speech and the Inter­net have joined forces as authors of a new book that lays out a blue­print for gov­ern­ments, indus­try lead­ers and soci­eties to take proac­tive steps to stem the tide of hate speech on the Internet.

Abra­ham H. Fox­man, National Direc­tor of the Anti-Defamation League and Christo­pher Wolf, ADL Civil Rights Chair, out­line the chal­lenges posed by online hate and pro­pose a series of solu­tions in their new book, Viral Hate: Con­tain­ing Its Spread on the Inter­net (Pal­grave Macmil­lan), avail­able in book­stores and for down­load on e-readers today.

Viral Hate dis­cusses how in the past 20 years, the Inter­net, with all of its many advan­tages to soci­ety and the free-flow of infor­ma­tion, has become one of the most pow­er­ful tools for big­ots to spread evil mes­sages of intol­er­ance and rage.

While it is a mar­velous medium for edu­ca­tion, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, enter­tain­ment and com­merce, as the Inter­net has grown and changed over the years, racists and big­ots have found new ways to exploit the tech­nol­ogy to spread hate­ful mes­sages and recruit oth­ers to join their cause. The book pro­vides numer­ous exam­ples of how this has happened.

Viral Hate offers spe­cific rec­om­men­da­tions for the indus­try, as well as for edu­ca­tors, par­ents and Inter­net users.

The indus­try rec­om­men­da­tions include:

  • Cre­at­ing clear poli­cies on hate speech and includ­ing them within terms of service;
  • Cre­at­ing mech­a­nisms for enforc­ing hate speech policies;
  • Estab­lish­ing a clear, user-friendly process for allow­ing users to report hate speech;
  • Increas­ing trans­parency about terms of service;
  • Actively encour­ag­ing counter-speech and edu­ca­tion to address hate speech.

Rec­om­men­da­tions for Inter­net users include: 

  • Flag­ging offen­sive content;
  • Speak­ing out and, in a smart and care­ful way, being pre­pared to chal­lenge hate­ful mes­sages with pos­i­tive ones;
  • Pro­mot­ing counter-speech, applaud­ing pos­i­tive mes­sages and rec­om­mend­ing them to others;
  • Talk­ing about what you have seen, and reach­ing out to watch­dog agen­cies with expe­ri­ence deal­ing with hate and bigotry;
  • For edu­ca­tors, work­ing to ensure that schools have appro­pri­ate poli­cies in place, and empha­siz­ing the impor­tance of crit­i­cal thinking.

Mr. Fox­man, a long­time leader in the fight against anti-Semitism and big­otry, and Mr. Wolf, an Inter­net pri­vacy law attor­ney who has rep­re­sented ADL in a num­ber of inter­na­tional bod­ies tasked with fight­ing Inter­net hate, cite numer­ous instances in recent years where indi­vid­u­als like James von Brunn, the white suprema­cist and U.S. Holo­caust Museum shooter, have taken advan­tage of the power of the Inter­net to spread hate­ful mes­sages and to find like­minded bigots.

And they iden­tify the var­i­ous forms of hate speech that have pro­lif­er­ated online, includ­ing racism, anti-Semitism, reli­gious big­otry, Holo­caust denial, homo­pho­bia, misog­yny, pro­mo­tion of ter­ror­ism and harassment.

In Viral Hate, Fox­man and Wolf dis­cuss how ADL helped to con­vene a new work­ing group on online hate that is bring­ing together Inter­net indus­try lead­ers and oth­ers to probe the roots of the prob­lem and develop new solu­tions to address it head on.

The authors write it is “a national dis­grace” that schools do not have as a require­ment courses instruct­ing chil­dren on the appro­pri­ate use of elec­tronic communication.

More infor­ma­tion on the book is avail­able on the League’s web site at www.adl.org/viral-hate.