Canada sees ‘dramatic’ spike in online hate — here’s what you can do about it

Useful to have this tracking of trends given that police-reported hate crime statistics, while needed and useful, only tell part of the story:

The internet can be a pretty intolerant place, and it may be getting worse.

An analysis of Canada’s online behaviour commissioned by CBC’s Marketplace shows a 600 per cent jump in the past year in how often Canadians use language online that’s racist, Islamophobic, sexist or otherwise intolerant.

“That’s a dramatic increase in the number of people feeling comfortable to make those comments,” James Rubec, content strategist for media marketing company Cision, told Marketplace.

Cision scanned social media, blogs and comments threads between November 2015 and November 2016 for slurs and intolerant phrases like “ban Muslims,” “sieg heil” or “white genocide.” They found that terms related to white supremacy jumped 300 per cent, while terms related to Islamophobia increased 200 per cent.

“It might not be that there are more racists in Canada than there used to be, but they feel more emboldened. And maybe that’s because of the larger racist sentiments that are coming out of the United States,” Rubec said.

So when you see hateful speech online, what can you do about it?

Marketplace‘s Asha Tomlinson joined journalist and cultural critic Septembre Anderson and University of Ontario Institute of Technology sociologist Barbara Perry, whose work focuses on hate crimes, to share strategies and tips for confronting intolerance online.

Reach out

If the person making hurtful comments is a friend, message them privately about it. Calling them out publicly can backfire.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

One Response to Canada sees ‘dramatic’ spike in online hate — here’s what you can do about it

  1. Pingback: Canada sees dramatic spike in online hate – Heba vs Reason

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