Addressing the Security Risks of Anti-Roma Hate Speech on Social Media Platforms

Event time: 
Monday, February 13, 2023 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
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Pavlina Pavlova
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This paper examines hate speech and its associated risks for human security, focusing on user-generated content (UGC) targeting Roma and related content moderation standards, tools, processes, and practices. The Romani people have experienced systemic racism, discrimination, and exclusion and faced prejudices, stereotypes, and hostility across countries. These negative attitudes are perpetuated, broadcast, and intensified in online spaces in the form of hateful and racist speech or incitement to violence. The paper outlines cases that illustrate common narratives about Roma and their translation into the online realm while highlighting the individual and community harm for targeted people. The narratives and security risks are further instrumentalized to examine the challenges and tensions that platforms encounter when developing and applying measures for content moderation. It is proposed that AI-powered detection tools are integral to tackling hate speech, but due to the highly contextual nature and differentiated risks connected to this phenomenon, they are unfit for being the exclusive means for decision-making. Policing the online ecosystem is most effective when models of content moderation are applied holistically with each layer extending the security and compensating for the limitations of the other. Social media providers need to follow a victim-sensitive approach to tackle the asymmetric threats that hate speech presents to minority, marginalized and vulnerable communities.
Pavlina Pavlova is Public Policy Advisor at the CyberPeace Institute in Geneva, Switzerland. Prior to joining the Institute, she was an official at the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) working on security assessment and capacity building of Roma human rights defenders in the OSCE area. Pavlina worked with hate crime victims and gained first-hand experience with the impacts and harm that inadequate content moderation presents for Roma in Europe.

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