Engage – how to deal with hate speech?

Take Action - engage with hate speech

Hate speech occurs in all societies, whether offline or online. It can sometimes be hard to assess when a comment is meant as hate speech – especially when expressed in the virtual world. It can also feel overwhelming to try to deal with obviously hateful content.

However, there are many ways you can take a stand, even if you are not personally the victim of hate speech. And you can make a difference. The following tips may be helpful.


Refrain from making any hateful comments yourself and/or relaying such content. Whether online or offline, we should all act responsibly to stop the spread of hate and misinformation. Check out the United Nations #PledgetoPause campaign to find out why it’s important to take a moment to pause before you share content online. Learn how to do this responsibly – whether you’re forwarding a message, retweeting a story or watching a video in your feed.



In the digital world, it’s common to come across misinformation and harmful content, but it’s relatively easy to verify content you find is reliable. To detect false and biased information, including hate speech propaganda, be sure to check the content’s origin with the help of search engines, fact-checking tools and other reliable sources. You can also download images and run them through image search tools to find out where they appeared first.


Whenever possible, do not remain silent, even when it is others who are targeted. Speak up calmly but firmly against hate speech and call it out to make clear that you do not agree with the content of the statement. When relevant, refute misinformation with facts, providing reliable sources to back up your argument.


One way to tackle hate speech is to spread your own counter-speech to make sure hate is not the dominant narrative. You can undermine hateful content with positive messages that spread tolerance, equality and truth in defense of those being targeted by hate.


Taking a public stand for, and extending solidarity to, people who are the targets of hate speech demonstrates that rejecting hate is the responsibility of every individual.


Most online platforms and communities have rules to keep user discussions respectful and will let you easily report hate messages to administrators or moderators. Read social media platform guidelines and tips to protect users from harassment and hate speech. For more serious cases – which may constitute incitement to violence, harassment and/or threats prohibited by law – notify organizations fighting hate speech and/or file a complaint with police (or the public prosecutor). Some countries have online tools to make reporting hate speech easier.


You can help raise awareness of hate speech — online or offline – simply by engaging with your family and friends in conversations about how hateful content can harm societies. Advocate for responsible behaviour and share public campaigns and educational resources.


Consider joining an NGO or other civil society initiative that works to address the issue of hate speech in your community.


Take Action - engage with hate speech


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