Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Hate speech on online social networks in Slovenia

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
5.03.00  Social sciences  Sociology   

Code Science Field
S000  Social sciences   

Code Science Field
5.04  Social Sciences  Sociology 
hate speech, online social networks, freedom of speech, reporting disputed content, legislation
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (9)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  28195  PhD Veronika Bajt  Social sciences  Researcher  2018 - 2020  235 
2.  53338  Monika Bohinec    Technical associate  2020 
3.  27894  PhD Neža Kogovšek Šalamon  Law  Researcher  2018 - 2020  375 
4.  38465  Primož Križnar  Criminology and social work  Researcher  2018 - 2020  29 
5.  34065  Lija Leonora Miljevec  Criminology and social work  Technical associate  2018 - 2020 
6.  39534  Andrej Motl  Sociology  Researcher  2018 - 2020  22 
7.  20544  Irena Salmič    Technical associate  2018 - 2020 
8.  10155  PhD Vasja Vehovar  Sociology  Head  2018 - 2020  825 
9.  26029  PhD Aleš Završnik  Criminology and social work  Researcher  2018 - 2020  483 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0366  Peace Institute  Ljubljana  5498295000  3,578 
2.  0504  Institute of Criminology at the Faculty of Law  Ljubljana  5051525000  5,132 
3.  0582  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Social Sciences  Ljubljana  1626957  39,455 
In the past ten years, online social networks (OSNs) have created a new way of interconnectivity, and by contrast, especially in recent years, have become the central stage of intolerant discourse, hate speech and to hate speech related false news. The expansion of hate speech through OSNs has increased and sharpened all the previous problems in the treatment of this channel. OSN operators are companies that administer content in accordance with their terms of use. They have been facing, on one hand, complaints because they do not remove the alleged hate speech, and on the other hand complaints about restricting the freedom of speech and privatization of the area, which is otherwise regulated by legal acts. In this situation, the question of discriminating legally acceptable speech from speech that does not deserve protection is becoming increasingly urgent, and in Slovenia a lot of ambiguity in comparison with other countries remains in this field.   The basic research activities of the project will follow two directions. Participating partners will first examine the occurrence of hate speech in the Slovene language in the corresponding parts of global OSNs. The existing data sources (especially for Facebook and Twitter networks) that are available to FDV partner (University of Ljubljana - Faculty of Social Sciences) will be available on the basis of intensive cooperation in specific monitoring projects of the European Commission in 2016 and 2017 respectively. FDV is among the first twelve countries that, at the initiative of the European Commission in the autumn of 2016, began to conduct monitoring in the field of hate speech, where the responsiveness of the largest global SDOs is checked. On this basis, it will be identified in which social networks and at which locations (groups, profiles) hate speech is most present, and then the phenomena will be analyzed qualitatively. The distinction between hate speech in a broader, sociological sense (as well as other related controversial communications) and hate speech in the legal sense will be made. A qualitative analysis of hate speech on social networks will be followed by an analysis of the criteria used by OSNs in removing reported cases of alleged hate speech and an analysis of response indicators – in particular the speed of removal, the type of (non) response (eg probable automatic handling, the presence of a specific explanation, complete non-response) and rates of removal in individual cases of hate speech that the OSN provider performs on the basis of the application. Whether and how the responsiveness of networks is affected by who is the content submitter will be checked. There is an important distinction between the normal user, OSN approved reporters or “trusted flaggers”, and an official authority (police). Preliminary data from the FDV partner, who has gained the status of a Slovenian “trusted flagger” for the leading OSNs (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube) suggests that these authentic notifiers achieve the removal of the disputable content much faster. The second course of activities will include the analysis of actual and normative (to the extent of availability of these regulations) criteria of the OSN providers in removing alleged cases of hate speech (their self-regulation in their role of Internet service providers) and the corresponding comparison with the Slovenian Constitution and the criminal law regulations in the area of restrictions to the freedom of speech in Slovenia. Accordingly, hate speech in the criminal law perspective will be firstly delineated, and then, on the basis of the practice of the European Court of Human Right and Council of Europe directives demarcation between freedom of expression and the prohibition of hate speech will be shown. In this context, the attention to conceptual problems, inconsistencies, contradictions and inconsistencies of existing legal solutions and connected legal practice will be drawn, as well as – based on th
Significance for science
Although the proposed project is a focused application project, its implementation will also help to achieve the critical mass of researchers dealing with the issue of hate speech. On this basis, we will be able to examine in depth all the aspects listed/ mentioned in point 17 (Proposals for options and method of transferring knowledge into practice). In-depth discussion will help to analyze the current issues of conceptual or operational nature more systematically. To a certain extent, the absence of systematic research could be partially responsible for the situation with which many stakeholders are not satisfied. As already mentioned in the description of the work package DS6 (Dissemination) and in point 16 (Expected results), scientific publications will also be produced on the basis of the project, which will undoubtedly contribute to the development of science and profession in this field
Significance for the country
The subject matter of the proposed project by its very nature does not have a direct impact on the economy, but it indirectly affects the media sector. Because of the unclear regulations and legislation in the field of hate speech, disagreements are widening among different Slovenian media. From a social point of view, and also in the criminal-legal sense, these media are co-responsible if they allow (or do not remove) cases of illegal hate speech.   From this point of view, the project will contribute to the clarification and simplification of the role of the media. This issue is especially relevant in the current situation, when many of them, for technical, organizational and content reasons, move their comments from their own forums, where user comments were moderated by the rules of particular media, to the online social media (OSN), where the corresponding online space is no longer (completely) in their management, and the moderation rules can be very different. Effective regulation in this field can importantly reduce the need for moderating, which is usually very demanding and expensive. Because of this many online media have already removed the options for user generated comments on their webpages, for others keeping this options means a big financial burden.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2018, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2018, final report
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