Independent UN human right expert warns that hate speech is spread with relative impunity

Independent UN human rightexpert Fernand de Varennes has warned that social media has been used too often with relative impunity to spread hate, prejudice and violence against minorities. Varennes called for an international treaty to address the growing wave of hate speech in online platforms. He stressed that even though more than 75 percent of hate speech cases aim at minorities, efforts to address online occurrences rarely focus on minorities.

Varennes believes that the starting point to tackle the practice is by criminalizing their severest forms, in addition taking administrative measures to counteract less severe forms of hate speech, prejudice, and racism in social media. He underlined that ‘with regard to social media platforms, minorities should specifically be identified as priorities’. Furthermore, he added that ‘social media’s content moderation systems and community standards and any oversight or appeal entity should clearly commit to protecting vulnerable and marginalised minorities and other groups and systematically integrate fully human rights standards into the content policies and decision mechanisms of their platforms’.