Tracking Causalities of Escalation towards Dangerous Speech
The past couple of years have seen online vitriol and hate speech proliferating on social media platforms. In many cases this has translated to offline violence towards targeted communities via mob-violence and lynching. Augmented via the ecosystem of misinformation and disinformation along with the fact that speech acts and practices coalesce along communities of supporters, this has even affected national election outcomes. The research is rooted in this context of increased incidences of hateful speech and offline violence. It aims to develop a situated understanding of the dynamic online ecosystem in which such escalation takes place. Given the compound information ecosystem of social media platforms, it aims to understand both the tactics and causality of incitement to violence online. This research aims to move beyond the study of prevalence of online hate speech towards understanding the factors underlying the prevalence or proliferation of speech acts and practices. This research has been funded by Facebook through a global call for proposals studying hate speech and offline violence and was a part of the cohort selected from among 184 applications from 34 countries.