A swift yet thorough examination of hate speech on the Internet.
Anti-Defamation League director Foxman (Jews and Money: The Story of a Stereotype, 2010, etc.) and privacy expert Wolf join forces in exploring the increasingly volatile subject of Internet hate speech and cyberbullying, a “serious illness” with lethal ramifications. The authors support this statement in chapters clearly defining various types of noxious online rhetoric and the most recognizable extremist groups spreading it through Internet social portals and artistic media (i.e., music albums and written propaganda frequently aimed at schoolchildren). It's the viral and populist nature of the Web, the authors write, that enables its users to freely disseminate damaging information on a global scale to wide-eyed readers. Yet this characteristic also hangs the responsibility on these same readers to squash the proliferation of hate speech at its source with counterspeech and by notifying authorities. In a technologically advanced world where words have become weapons, Foxman and Wolf acknowledge the many Americans who believe there is a fine line between “the right to expression and the right to human dignity.” They compare limited American laws surrounding intimidation and the inciting of violent acts with those of certain zero-tolerance European countries, which imprison offenders without question. They also offer intelligent dialogue on the pros and cons of formally outlawing hate speech altogether in the U.S. and spotlight constructive Internet movements focused on stemming the tide of hate speech online. Most importantly, the authors repeatedly appeal to Internet users to get involved, become informed, and exercise the power of education to combat and defuse inflammatory communications and to promote tolerance both on- and offline.
A straightforward, relevant discourse on the pernicious nature of online intimidation.