Book Review Social Media and Hate by Shakuntal Banaji and Ramnath Bhat

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IN Social media and hate, Shakuntala Banaji And Ramnath Bhatt explore the issue of hate speech on social media by offering case studies from India, Brazil, Myanmar and the UK. The book is a timely and insightful exploration of the intersection of disinformation and hate on social media in today’s society. Deshdeep Dhankhar.

If you are interested in social media and hate, you can Watch the video or listen to a podcast authors discussing the book at an LSE public event, recorded October 25, 2022.

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Social networks and hatred. Shakuntala Banaji and Ramnath Bhat. Routledge. 2022.

book cover Social Media and Hatred In today’s digital age, social media platforms have become an integral part of our lives. They have changed the way we interact, communicate and consume information. However, social media platforms have also become hotbeds for hate speech and misinformation.

Shakuntala Banaji and Ramnath Bhat provide an overview of the issue of hate speech on social media. Social media and hate seeks to explain the many problems that arise from the anonymity and speed of communication on social media platforms that contribute to the rampant spread of hate speech. This open access research also discusses the concept of social media literacy, arguing that individuals must be able to navigate the complex landscape of social media and resist the spread of hate speech.

The book argues that hate on social media is not a new phenomenon. However, this is made possible by the capabilities of social media platforms such as anonymity, virality, and the ability to connect with like-minded people. The study presents a bold assumption: namely, that hate on social media, and the resulting extreme violence and discrimination, often directed against certain communities, is inextricably linked to the complex socio-political conditions and behaviors that users display on major social media platforms. Facebook, TikTok, ShareChat, Instagram and WhatsApp, among others, are all involved in this complex web of social dynamics.

The book presents a compelling and highly sophisticated theoretical discussion of the practice and consequences of sectarian hatred. The analysis draws on both quantitative and qualitative literature and is complemented by four exceptional qualitative studies that contain many enlightening observations about the scourge of hate on social media in India, Brazil, Myanmar and the UK. These case studies delve into the technical, ideological and network connections that underpin social media hate, especially as it relates to various marginalized groups in these four distinct contexts.

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Importantly, the study categorizes “typologies of hate” in various forms of communication and highlights certain groups that are more likely to be perpetrators or targets of hate speech; Muslims, Dalits, migrants, dissenters and feminists are in the latter category, among others. He also notes that there are other types of impolite speech that may not fall strictly under hate speech, but may still increase marginalization or spill over into venomous or hate speech. Together, these findings and insights contribute to a comprehensive understanding of the complex dynamics of social media hate and the relationship between sociopolitical factors and online behavior.

The authors examine the failure of policies and procedures regarding hate speech in the case of the Rohingya in Myanmar. The study shows how social media hatred of the Rohingya is made possible by the wider political and social context of ethnic conflict and discrimination. They argue that the failure of policies and procedures highlights the need for a more nuanced approach to dealing with hate speech that takes into account the political and historical context in which it occurs.

Similarly, using the example of Brazil, the authors explore the connection between the history of Brazil’s colonization and the violent “other” and modern hate speech on the Internet. They describe how online hate speech in Brazil is often directed against historically marginalized groups, including indigenous peoples and Afro-Brazilians. The authors call for more attention to be paid to the elimination of historical injustice in order to combat modern hate speech.

Banaji and Bhat explain the role of social media in perpetuating the hierarchy of hate in India, especially in matters of caste and religion. The authors describe how social media hate speech has contributed to violence against marginalized communities in India. They highlight the role of the socio-political context, values ​​and behaviors in social media hate speech. For example, the authors show how hate speech and violence against Muslims in India are encouraged by the Hindu nationalist agenda of the ruling BJP party, and how social media platforms have become key platforms for spreading hate speech against Muslims.

They also analyze the challenges of regulating social media hate speech in the Indian context, arguing that social media platforms are responsible for addressing the issue. The government has issued rules for facilitators to handle user complaints, but it retains the right to make the final decision if internal mechanisms fail. In addition, the government has urged companies to crack the encryption on messaging apps, ostensibly to track down sources of disinformation but in reality to track down and apprehend critics of the regime.

The authors also explain the cross-cutting dynamics of hate speech in the UK, focusing on the role of white male anger online. They describe how hate speech is often rooted in intersecting forms of oppression, including racism, misogyny and homophobia. The authors argue that combating online hate speech requires a deeper understanding of these intersecting dynamics and a more integrated approach to policy and practice. Throughout the book, cross-country and cross-sectional case studies highlight the devastating effects of social media hate on individuals and communities, supporting theoretical discussion with real-life examples.

The authors argue that the similarities between case studies highlight the need for a systematic policy response to social media hate that recognizes its complex and interconnected nature. The authors suggest that such a response should include a combination of regulatory measures, educational initiatives, and community interventions. These include the use of ethical artificial intelligence, media education and fact checking, and individual actions such as blocking certain accounts that incite hate or discriminatory behavior on social media, or providing therapy, which can be a helpful resource for those affected. through hate on social media. However, long-term solutions require international efforts aimed at social and economic change through social movements, strikes and boycotts.

Social Media and Hate by Banaji and Bhat is a timely and in-depth study of the intersection of disinformation and hate on social media in modern society. Overall, the book is a comprehensive and thought-provoking analysis of the complex relationship between social media and hate speech and will be of interest to scholars, policy makers and activists alike.

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