Social Media and Free/Hate Speech Debate
With the advent of social media, hateful and discriminatory expressions have become almost unavoidable. Many anonymous or semi-anonymous users easily post their comments online. Some of the comments are hurtful, targeting a particular group or individuals. Whenever hate speech is reported, regulating one’s speech is a key issue. However, it further creates a controversy. On the one hand, regulating hurtful expression or speech protects minority groups from prejudice and discrimination. On the other hand, it also limits the ability of individuals to express themselves, that is, freedom of speech.
How does (or has) social change shape(d) everyday language practices? How can we defend or exercise our freedom of expressions while making a just society? This session will call for papers discussing the issue of “free/hate speech” in contemporary societies. According to Samuel Walker (1994, Hate Speech: The History of an American Controversy), the term, “speech,” is used for all forms of communication, both verbal and non-verbal. It also includes written and visual forms of expression. Thus, this session will welcome empirical studies which examine not only the existing and social media but also graffiti or other forms of speech found in various contexts.