Combatting Online Hate Speech and Disinformation Targeting Religious Communities USCIRF

USCIRF - It was good to be a part of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom Hearing hearing that took place in October it was about how some governments use and enable others to use social media platforms to sow disinformation and hate speech that target religious communities and incite violence against them.

During the past two decades, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms have emerged as invaluable tools for connecting people around the world. However, we have also witnessed the use of social media to spread false and discriminatory information that dehumanizes specific groups of people, including faith communities and religious minorities. Online hate speech and misinformation has been
used to target and mobilize violence against the Rohingya in Burma, Jews in Iran, Shi’a Muslims in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, and Christians and Muslims in Nigeria, to name only a few.

The U.S. government and the international community must do more to understand how social media technologies are used to mobilize religious freedom violations, and work together to address this phenomenon. Witnesses will give analysis on these topics and present policy recommendations to the U.S. government.

It was a lively discussion and an important one that left those who were part of it perhaps with more questions than answers. (Andrew.)

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