Here is a short question and answer with Ms Générose Musemena, a 21 years old with a masters in Strategic Management from Rotterdam School of Management. The aim was to find out how some Millennials use the Internet and their viewpoint on online hate speech.
1. Everyday how much time do you spend on the Internet?
Everyday, I spend a maximum of 5 hours on the Internet
2. What do you use the Internet for?
I use the Internet to watch series and movies, listen to music but also to stay up to date with international news.
3. Why do you think hate speech online is increasingly becoming a global problem?
Because people all around the world are sad and need to find ways to spread their emotional poisons.
4. How often do you see hateful comments, or posts promoting violence on a daily basis?
I block a lot of unwanted contents on my browser which enables me to only be confronted to content I choose to look at. Hate speeches are often located in the comment sections of videos I watch on youtube. However, I do not read comments, as I don’t want to be subject of stupid/nonsense opinions.
5. How do you think we can balance freedom of expression when it comes to hate speech?
Get rid of anonymous profiles. People usually hide behind anonymous profiles, as they don’t have to worry about others recognising them. Some people who spread hate speeches online are too afraid to hold the same speech in real life. People should have to identify themselves with their real name and maybe their national ID number. This way, they have to be accountable for their opinions. I think we could be surprised by the reduction of hate speech as most people are coward and don’t want to loose face in front of their peers in real life.
6. How do you think we can we ensure that freedom of expression is not used to justify hate speech?
Clearly define what is a hate speech maybe so that any content that falls under the clear definition can be blocked.
7. What would you say is the biggest challenge in tackling hate speech?
The biggest challenge would be the fact that it is almost impossible to communicate with the haters. Most of the time they are delusional individuals.
8. Is there any solution to this problem?
I do not think so. I think most of them are lost causes and extremists. The only think we can do is educating young people who are still open-minded and welcome different viewpoints. Go to schools and target the younger ones early on.
9. Are there any challenges in implementing your counter speech campaign?
Kids with parents that are haters may not welcome the message of peace.
10. Do you think the use of regulations in an effective way to tackle this issue?
No. The problem is related to the way people have been educated. A regulation will not change much. Regulations that seriously punish people who spread hate speech may work in the short term but these people will not change their values. They will only get worse.
11. As a young adult who has grown up in technology era, how do you think hate speech should be tackled?
I think no policy can tackle the problem of hate speech. Governments need to go to the source: the way people have been educated. Unfortunately, no one is willing to spend the time and money to redefine people’s values as this takes years and many efforts.