UCL Faculty of Laws


The Role of Internet Intermediaries in Tackling Online Hate

07 May 2019, 4:00 pm–5:00 pm

online hate

A Centre for Ethics & Law event

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Laws Events


Gideon Schreier LT
Bentham House
University College London, Bentham House


Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor (University of Hull & UCL Distinguished Visiting Professor)


Hate speech is defined as a bias-motivated, hostile, malicious speech aimed at a person or a group of people because of some of their actual or perceived innate characteristics. It expresses discriminatory, intimidating, disapproving, antagonistic and/or prejudicial attitudes toward those characteristics which include sex, race, religion, ethnicity, colour, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation.

Hate speech is designed to threaten certain groups publicly and act as propaganda for offline organizations. Hate groups use websites to share ideology and propaganda, to link to similar sites and to recruit new converts, advocate violence and to threat others.

This paper discusses the targets of hate on the Internet and shows the connection between hate speech and hate crime. Through analysis of court cases from the United States and France, it explains the responsibilities of Internet intermediaries. It is argued that socially responsible people should not stand idly by while others are abusing freedom of expression to discriminate and victimized their targets for hate. There is a need to strike a balance between freedom of expression and social responsibility. The paper offers potential remedies as how to tackle hate on the Internet.

About the Speaker

Raphael Cohen-Almagor received his DPhil in political theory from Oxford University. He is Professor/Chair in Politics, Founding Director of the Middle East Study Group, University of Hull, and Distinguished Visiting Professor, Faculty of Laws, University College London (UCL). Previously he taught at Oxford, Tel Aviv, The Hebrew University, University of Haifa, UCLA, Johns Hopkins, and Nirma University (India). He has published a number of books and hundreds of papers in the fields of politics, media, philosophy, law and ethics. Among his books are The Boundaries of Liberty and Tolerance (1994), The Right to Die with Dignity (2001), Speech, Media and Ethics (2005), The Scope of Tolerance (2006), and Confronting the Internet's Dark Side (2015). Professor Cohen-Almagor is now working on two books: Just, Reasonable Multiculturalism, and From Oslo to Jerusalem on the failed peace process between Israel and the PLO. Both books are under contract with Cambridge University Press.

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