10 December, 2013

Take action: delete hate speech online

Category: European Action Day
Aileen Donegan
10 am



10 December 2013

How to tackle cyberhate in three simple steps

The aim of this post is to summarise the possible ways and tools to report and denounce hateful and offensive contents on the Internet step by step. In three words: To tackle cyberhate Are you ready to take online action?


The first step of your action is to know what hate speech is so it will be easy to recognise it: “Hate speech: It covers all forms of expression which spread, incite, promote or justify racial hatred, xenophobia, antisemitism or other forms of hatred based on intolerance, including: intolerance expressed by aggressive nationalism and ethnocentrism, discrimination and hostility against minorities, migrants and people of immigrant origin.”

So, if you find any harmful content (picture, video, post, comments…) on the Internet (websites, blogs, social networks…) that incites to discriminate and hate a certain group of people, you should know that you can report it and this content can be deleted from the online space. Now, you have procedural alternatives with hate speech content, though it depends on different aspects as the national legislation that applies in your country may differ. It also depends if the domain hosted is in your national state or abroad. Basically, you can:

1. Make a criminal complaint (depending on the country)
Request for removal of content to the author
Notify the illegal/hateful content to the Administrator of the site
Notify the illegal/hateful content to the internet service provider (ISP)
Notify to complaints bureau such as INACH, INHOPE

  • STEP 2: BACKUP THE CONTENT. Second, it is very important to make an original copy of each case of hate speech you find on the web. Why?

Because it’s possible that the person that posted hate speech (comment, pictures or any other content) removes it after is reported it or, in the best case, the content is removed by the administrators or providers of the web/social network. But if we need to take further actions, regardless of where the content is located, it must be documented and saved for future reference. There are hate speech cases that need to be prosecuted, so it is best to take the original example as proof. Backing up a particular case of hate speech, the easiest way to do this is the printscreen, so you can edit the file, name it and save it in your computer.

  • STEP 3: REPORT HATE SPEECH. There are different ways of reporting hate speech depending on where the hateful content is posted. These are general recommendations for different online platforms:


For national domains (domain ending with a country code), the procedure of reporting is simple and easier than others. The fast and best solution is to look for the contact address and just write an email giving all relevant information about the case. It is important to include the backup copy of the content, the link where is placed and if it is possible, a legal reference (you can find them at the ‘Terms of Service’ section of the website). If you can not find the contact address, you can try the following steps:

  1. In the search field on the page, write the name of the website.
  2. The results will give you the domain registrar, who are the operators, their contacts, and other data.

In most of the cases administrators will be happy to listen your requests for content removal if it is illegal content.


a) First level domain (.com)

  1. Open the page Whois  (http://whois.domaintools.com) to find out who is the registered person of that web or  Network Solutions (networksolutions.com) to know where a particular page is hosted.
  2. Regardless of whether you managed to find a domain register or not, you need to check whether the provider rules contain references to ban content, incites hatred or oral amendment is illegal. These rules are often called Terms of Service (ToS), or Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). It is necessary to locate the word hate within these Terms or policies.
  3. The next step is to write an email to the provider, asking them to remove the hate speech content, and using the ToS given by author.

b) Second level domain (for instance wordpress.com)

If it is the content that is on the domain second level is necessary to examine the ToS or AUP service at which the content is hosted

  1. Find out what is the address of the service
  2. Identify ToS or AUP and look whether it contains anything on hateful content, or illegal content.
  3. If the content falls within one of these definitions, write an e-mail to the administrator, or report objectionable content.


facebooka) Facebook

The reporting system of Facebook is easy and fast. Below is the example of the notification procedure:

1. Do a printscreen of a particular post/group/picture
2.Click on the options
3. Select one of the options – Harassing a friend or hate speech or symbol.
4.Think about asking your friends on Facebook to do the same or to groups such as the No Hate Speech Movement — combating hate speech

Facebook evaluates how much requests for removal a particular post, picture, video received and depending on the number of requests admins decide whether to delete it or not.

Twitter logo 2012

b) Twitter

The reporting system of Twitter is a little bit more complicated and needs more information. The procedure is:

1. Do the printscreen of the tweet/profile user
2. Click on Options and Report Tweet
3. Click on ‘Offensive comment’ and fill out all the fields. Block the hate profile.
4. Think about asking your followers on Twitter to do the same or mention it to the No Hate Speech Movement — #nohatespeech



youtube-logoc) Youtube

How to:

1. Backing up your video with download helper

2. Record video to an electronic database

3. Report video as offensive.


If you consider that the hate content you found requires further action (legal), please consider forwarding it to any complaint bureau. Our recommendation is to report it to INACH as it has a network of national offices that is collecting and dealing with complaints related to hate-inciting or illegal content on the internet.

You can find all the national delegates at the website — http://www.inach.net/ and contact them.

After following the 3 basic steps, you can consider yourself as a ‘hate speech fighter.’ Congratulations! You have contributed to a safer cyberspace 🙂

Now, keep up the good work!


  1. Pingback: Plataforma de Infancia » Jóvenes de la Plataforma de Infancia se formarán como activistas contra la intolerancia en internet

  2. Pingback: #nohatespeech – ginamarie95

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *