Press Releases

Containing Viral Hate

 

Contact:
William Dube
wdube@itif.org
202-626-5744
WASHINGTON (June 20, 2013) - The Internet provides a powerful platform for individuals to engage in free speech, but some extremists regularly go online, often anonymously, to spread bigotry, engage in cyber-bullying and encourage violence. In their new book, Viral Hate: Containing Its Spread on the Internet, Abraham Foxman and Christopher Wolf argue that online hate speech is a serious threat that needs to be more specifically addressed by society.
Unfortunately, when confronted with this problem, policymakers are often at a loss for how to respond. In an effort to raise awareness and promote the potential policy reforms, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) is hosting a presentation on the state of viral hate by book co-author Christopher Wolf. The event will be held from 12:00 P.M. to 1:30 P.M., Wednesday, June 26 at ITIF, 1101 K Street NW, Suite 610A. 
"From the cyber-bullying that ultimately led to the suicide of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi to the endless stream of racist, sexist and homophobic comments found on sites like Reddit, the negative impact of anonymous free speech on the Internet is hard to ignore," notes Daniel Castro, Senior Policy Analyst with ITIF and organizer of the event. "Viral Hate provides a tremendously informative primer on the issue and we are honored to have Christopher Wolf present on the subject and the potential responses to hate speech in all its digital forms." 
 
Wolf's presentation will be followed by a panel discussion featuring leading technology policy experts who will discuss the range of responses for addressing the issue, including legal remedies, counter speech and intervention by intermediaries. The event will be webcast and lunch will be provided.
"Many important policy issues from freedom of expression to the right to privacy have an impact on how we address hate speech," Castro adds. "We hope this book and event will provoke much-needed discussion on how to best address this problem."