Online Hate Speech and Misinformation

Digital Cultures & Societies Series - Online Hate Speech and Misinformation

In partnership with Dr Allison Fish and the Centre for Policy Futures, this event brings together researchers who are currently exploring the regulation and moderation of, as well as institutional responses to, online hate speech and misinformation. These talks consider platform virality and the regulation of online hate speech in India, moderation policies and their relationship to “authenticity,” and the complexity of navigating online hate speech and disinformation as well as discussions of who should be responsible for curbing or arresting harmful speech acts.

The session will include a series of short talks followed by an open discussion.

  • When: Friday 12 August 2022, 1pm to 3pm
  • Where: Michie Building (9) - The Writer's Studio (612) Level 6, UQ

Please register your attendance so we can adhere to room capacity.


Siddharth Narrain (UNSW) – Platform Virality and the Regulation of Online Hate Speech in India: A Case Study of Facebook

Relying on contemporary developments in law and institutional frameworks that have evolved to respond to the potential harm of online hate speech, I will argue that platform virality has resulted in a reconfiguration of legal and institutional responses to hate speech. Using Facebook as a case study, I will argue that legal and institutional responses in relation to platform virality and hate speech online in India are marked by both pre-existing concerns of lawmakers around collectivities, such as crowds and publics, but also by the implications of the increasing connectivity of these crowds and publics on social media platforms through internet-enabled mobile phones.

Siddharth Narrain is a lawyer and legal scholar working in the field of public law and socio-legal studies. He is currently a doctoral candidate at the Faculty of Law & Justice, University of New South Wales, Sydney.


Timothy Graham (QUT)– Platform moderation and the paradox of (in)authenticity

‘Authenticity’ has become a conceptual touchstone of how platforms moderate hate speech and misinformation, whereby participation in online spaces is increasingly governed by policies that prescribe what it means to be genuine. Drawing on a large-scale study of cryptocurrency communities on Twitter, I argue that platforms apply such rules and policies inconsistently in the service of profit models based on monetisable daily active usage (mDAU) and advertising revenue. Platforms’ concept of authenticity is thereby fraught. The paradox is that such moderation practices detain certain forms of problematic behaviour while also generating others.

Dr Timothy Graham is Senior Lecturer in Digital Media at the Queensland University of Queensland. His research combines computational methods with social theory to study online networks and platforms, with a particular interest in online bots and trolls, disinformation, and online ratings and rankings devices. He develops open source software tools for social media data analysis, and is the recipient of an ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award for his project, ‘Combating Coordinated Inauthentic Behaviour on Social Media’ (2022-2025).


Kirril Shields and Kath Gelber (UQ) – Who's responsible? Exploring the difficult and complex terrain of hate speech and disinformation on social media.

This workshop explores the difficulty of navigating hate speech and disinformation on social media. At the heart of the workshop is a discussion about who's responsible for curbing or arresting speech acts that are hateful and hurtful. The workshop will look at the debate over free speech, legislation at regional and national levels, and the role of the private sector. Also, what solutions might be on offer given the way social media is reliant on practices that may exacerbate the problems in question.

Dr Kirril Shields teaches across subjects in UQ's Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, and works for the atrocity prevention organisation The Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (APR2P Centre). In this capacity he leads several grassroots projects, including two that are developing software applications that map hate speech in Southeast Asia.

Professor Katharine Gelber is Head of the School of Political Science and International Studies, and Professor of Politics and Public Policy. Her research is in the field of freedom of speech, and the regulation of public discourse. She is the author of three monographs (Free Speech After 9/11, OUP 2016; Speech Matters, UQP, 2011, Speaking Back, John Benjamins, 2002), and three edited books (incl. Free Speech in the Digital Age, OUP 2019).


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