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Recommended from our networks Representative study on online hate in Germany Published: 01 May 2024

A study by the Competence Network Against Hate Online

A recent study sheds light on a concerning trend: the quiet retrat of individuals from online platforms in response to toxic online environments. Titled "Lauter Hass, Leiser Rückzug" (Loud Hate, Silent Withdrawal), the study conducted by the Kompetenznetzwerk gegen Hass im Netz (Competence Network Against Hate Online) delves into the motivations and experiences of individuals who opt to disengage from online spaces due to the prevalence of hate speech.

The Authors consider the representative study as the most comprehensive study conducted in Germany since 2019 on the perception, concern and consequences of hate online. More than 3,000 internet users aged 16 and over were surveyed.

The study's results show that online hate is a widespread problem that affects various groups within society. Around half of those surveyed have experienced hate online, with around one in eight people stating that they themselves have been affected. Women, People of Colour and LGBTQ* are in particular are frequently affected by online hate. Furthermore Political opinions are often the target of attacks, with supporters of leftist political parties being especially affected.

The study also shows that online hate leads to a withdrawal from democratic discourse. Those affected often withdraw from online activities, which can lead to a reduction in diversity of opinion and psychological complaints. There is also concern that online hate could lead to an increase in violence in real life.

The majority of respondents call for political measures to regulate, combat and prevent hate online. These include raising awareness among the police and judiciary, expanding advice centres and increasing the responsibility of social media platforms. Almost 80 per cent of respondents believe that platforms should also take financial responsibility for the social damage caused by online hate.

Download the study here.

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