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Hot? Don’t tweet. The action against hate speech online

Experts from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, using artificial intelligence, have identified approximately 75 million English-language tweets containing hate speech among the 4 billion tweets published in the US between 2014 and 2020. It found that people post more hateful tweets when the temperature rises above or falls below the range defined as the ‘comfort zone’ (12-21°C). The use of hate speech increased by 22% on warmer days and by 12% on colder days. This was the case across all climate zones and regardless of socio-economic differences such as income, religious beliefs, political preferences and even access to air conditioning.

According to a report by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a non-profit organisation that tracks extremism and anti-Semitism, at least 40 artists who preach white supremacist views are promoting hate-filled and other harmful content on the Spotify platform. References to fascism and the German Nazi party can be found there, and artists provide links to other extremist content on their profiles.

In combating, among other aspects, right-wing extremism and hate speech, German law enforcement authorities bring charges against citizens for insults, threats and harassment. Police search homes, confiscate electronic equipment and interrogate suspects. Court penalties include fines of thousands of euros and sometimes imprisonment. The German authorities explain that this is a way of defending freedom of expression and providing a space where people can share opinions without fear of attack and encountering hate speech.

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