Vol. 14 No. 2 (2023): MEDIA EDUCATION – Studi, ricerche e buone pratiche

Hate speech and social media: Combating a dangerous relationship

Francesca Rizzuto
Università di Palermo

Published 2023-12-31


  • hate speech,
  • social media,
  • legislative actions,
  • information


The article proposes a reflection on the configuration of the contemporary digital agorà as a powerful ‘hate factory’, focusing on the dangers deriving from pervasive and planetary practices of divisive news construction and sharing trough the social media. In the first part, it will be argued that the increase of lexical choices based on hate or verbal violence must be connected to the characteristics of the contemporary hybrid media system, and considered as a concrete threat for democracies, which challenges institutions to find innovative ways to face it at a legislative as well as at a cultural level. In the second part of the article, some EU recent normative actions against hate speech will be presented in order to underline links with the 2022 “Code on hate speech”, promoted by Italian Authority for Communications (AGCOM) in Italy: this document established the binding criteria for the programming of Italian audio-visual media service providers, in order to prevent and combat hate speech by avoiding any dissemination, justification, minimization of violence, hatred or discrimination both in information and entertainment. From all these institutional initiatives clearly emerges the need to reinforce the legal framework for tackling hate speech and discrimination, starting from the normative lack of strict rules in many European countries.


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