Social media has been able to connect billions of people worldwide, but one of the adverse effects of this network is that it has allowed the vitriolic spread of hate speech. Social media has created a space where so many people can make hate-filled, vile, horrible, and threatening comments with no remorse, restrain, or control. This way, a network that is supposed to unite human beings has turned into a den of hatred.
It is crucial to combat hatred and stand up to hate-mongers, so everyone knows that intolerance will not be tolerated. Fortunately, there are increasingly louder voices online and offline on countering hate speech on social media. This piece is going to focus on ways to tackle this growing menace on social media.
Ways of Countering Hate Speech on Social Media
Use the Available Social Media Tools
Even though social media networks like Facebook and Instagram today are vast with billions of members, they have built tools to address issues like hate, violence, or anything that goes against community standards on their platforms. It is easy for you to get support from these platforms and report the offending post or the person who made it – you will get a response.
Many people often do not consider using these tools because they feel they will not respond, but these tools work and help, so utilize them. You can always choose to block, mute, or report the offenders and not let them get away with bad behavior.
Know-How to Identify and Deal with the Trolls
If you are a regular on social media, you can instantly recognize that there are trolls everywhere, and they are the primary sources of hate speech. Trolls have no other purpose online than to cause chaos and pollute around.
Trolls deliberately put out inciting, hateful, and destabilizing comments and they thrive on the controversy and confusion they generate. They are best described as cyberbullies, and you cannot counter hate speech online successfully without dealing with trolls. But before you can do that, you will need to identify them first.
The name of a troll is typically meaningless and does not sound human in any way, and that is because the number one feature of a troll is to remain anonymous. They also do not use profile photos or use a celebrity’s photo; they usually have no followers or are followed by fellow trolls. Once you see a troll, you can choose to mute, block, report, or ignore. It would help if you never gave them the attention that they desperately need.
Master the Art of Response
There are some other instances in which the hateful comments come from trolls and a real person with an unmistakable profile. In such a scenario, the best thing you need to do is give a measured, precise, and direct response. Launching a ballistic reaction in such a condition is not the best way to go about it. There are useful tips on how you can master the art of responding to hate messages on social media.
The first thing you need to have at the back of your mind is that you should focus on the message itself and never attack the person behind it. Make sure you resist the overpowering urge to lash out at the other person. In your response, make sure you marshal all factual data and facts to neutralize the false generalization, lies, or assumptions that form the basis of the hate message in the first place.
Give your perspective while remaining positive and optimistic all the way. If you can also throw in some humor, do so, and you will see everyone rallying around you while the messenger of hate becomes shamed.
Do Not Work Alone
One thing trolls know and utilize to their advantage on social media is the cyber crowd’s power. Hence, it is not uncommon to see a worthless troll or hater having a lot of followers. It is a deliberate strategy to intimidate and drown out the voice of others. If you want to counter hate speech and do so effectively, you must have your battalion and crowd online too.
You can mobilize your friends and fans only and get to act as a group. You can do mass reporting of the hate groups or messages so they can be brought down. Remember, those spreading hate are bullies who are cowards, and they cannot stand a determined opposition. Get your forces, too, and get into action mode. Do not make yourself vulnerable by acting alone.
Spread Good Messages and Accurate Information
Hate dwells on ignorance and fear, and that is why people who follow haters change their minds when the truth gets to them. Use your platform to spread optimistic messages and only accurate information. Let people see your platform as a portal for knowledge, and they will feel very comfortable with you. You can even use your platform to teach others how they can tackle hate speech online. In other words, turn your forum into a valuable resource.