Viral Hate: Containing Its Spread on the Internet

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Overview

Emboldened by anonymity, individuals and organizations from both left and right are freely spewing hateful vitriol on the Internet without worrying about repercussions.Lies, bullying, conspiracy theories, bigoted and racist rants, and calls for violence targeting the most vulnerable circulate openly on the web.And thanks to the guarantees of the First Amendment and the borderless nature of the Internet,governing bodies are largely helpless to control this massive assault on human dignity and safety. Abe Foxman ...

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Viral Hate: Containing Its Spread on the Internet

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Overview

Emboldened by anonymity, individuals and organizations from both left and right are freely spewing hateful vitriol on the Internet without worrying about repercussions.Lies, bullying, conspiracy theories, bigoted and racist rants, and calls for violence targeting the most vulnerable circulate openly on the web.And thanks to the guarantees of the First Amendment and the borderless nature of the Internet,governing bodies are largely helpless to control this massive assault on human dignity and safety. Abe Foxman and Christopher Wolf expose the threat that this unregulated flow of bigotry poses to the world.They explore how social media companies like Facebook and YouTube, as well as search engine giant Google, are struggling to reconcile the demands of business with freedom of speech and the disturbing threat posed by today's purveyors of hate. And they explain the best tools available to citizens, parents, educators, law enforcement officers, and policy makers toprotect thetwin values of transparency and responsibility. As Foxman and Wolf show, only an aroused and engaged citizenry can stop the hate contagion before it spirals out of control - with potentially disastrous results.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Abe Foxman and Chris Wolf have done a remarkable job in Viral Hate of balancing important concerns about freedom of expression with a blunt look at how the Internet can distort those freedoms to undermine a democratic society that we cherish. This is a significant book that will provoke discussion and the good news is that it is thoroughly readable as well.”

—Mike McCurry, former Press Secretary to President Bill Clinton, Partner, Public Strategies Washington

 

 “At a time when many question whether the First Amendment is up to the challenge of hate speech in a borderless medium, Foxman and Wolf argue that fealty to first principles must remain the lodestar. While the global Internet may have amplified the voices of hate, it has also enriched the responses available in our constitutional tool box. Our capacity for counter speech, education, and responsible action is now unbounded. It is now up to all who benefit from the open Internet to heed the call.”

Leslie Harris, President, CEO, Center for Democracy & Technology

“The tradeoff between freedom of speech on the one end and the right to be protected from vicious wide spread  hatred and bigotry on the other end was never more essential, more challenging, more urgent, and more tricky than it is today. The internet being, for better or worse, the ever-biggest propagation engine in history, makes it all the more critical. This tricky balance is thoroughly discussed by Abe Foxman and Christopher Wolf. A must read.”

—Yossi Vardi, Founding Investor, ICQ (Computer Instant Messaging Program)

Kirkus Reviews
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230342170
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 6/4/2013
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 558,667
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Abraham Foxman

Abraham H. Foxman is the national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and one of today’s preeminent voices against hatred, discrimination, and violence in the United States and worldwide. He is the author of Jews and Money, The Deadliest Lies, and Never Again?.

Christopher Wolf is widely recognized as one of the leading American practitioners in the field of privacy and data security law and serves as the director of Hogan Lovell LLP’s Privacy and Information Management practice group.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 27, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    A very interesting account of a dirty subject, that being viral

    A very interesting account of a dirty subject, that being viral hate. The authors pose some really soul searching questions about human rights.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2013

    An insightful analysis of a difficult subject.  The authors are

    An insightful analysis of a difficult subject.  The authors are committed to free expression but believe that human dignity is an equally important right.  They explain how hate speech tramples the rights of others and can even lead to physical harm and death.  There are specific action steps outlined in the book, especially for the Internet community, to take.  An easily accessible book.

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