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5 (foolproof) tips for avoiding hate speech on Facebook

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To restrict speech on Facebook, or not to restrict speech on Facebook, that is the question.

And a rather controversial question it is.

In Germany, the answer right now is “yes”at least when it comes to censoring hate speech.

The country is coping with the arrival of over a million refugees, a crisis that has fueled anti-foreigner sentiments and negative posts on Facebook and other social media sites.

The hateful commentary has led many, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, to criticize Facebook for not doing enough to identify and take down criminal posts.

Facebook has since responded by hiring an outside service to help monitor and delete racist comments.

But Facebook and other social media platforms can’t possibly remove every negative post that invades their sites. For starters, it’s probably not feasible. And most importantly, censorship is hard to do without violating freedom of speech (although the interpretation of this freedom differs from country to country). While most people probably agree that explicit attacks on others should be removed from public forums, deciding what is and isn’t worth removing is highly subjective.

So it’s up to social media users to stop being a$$holes perpetuating hate speech.

Here are a few (foolproof) tips for avoiding hate speech on Facebook (and social media in general):

1/ Don’t be a bigot.

And don’t be friends with one either. 

via GIPHY

2/ If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Unless it’s about Donald Trump...

Just kidding. Bashing others on social mediaeven if it’s well intentionedwill almost certainly lead to some type of messy, offensive debate.

3/ If you think something might sound racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. it absolutely will.

ABORT MESSAGE. And even better, abort the thought altogether.

3/ If someone posts something that is offensive to you, don’t respond to it.

Your well-crafted zinger is more likely to popularize the post than put someone in their place. 

View post on imgur.com

4/ If you’re not a famous comedian, don’t make jokes that are offensive to other races, genders, religions, sexual orientations, etc.

Facebook might allow it, but the odds of you pulling it off are seriously slim to none.

5/ Stop oversharing.

Selective sharing is caring—it gives you more room to think before you type. 


Technology is a powerful tool for progress, and popular social media posts have the ability to galvanize people into actionfor better or for worse.

Post responsibly, global citizens. And make sure social media reflects a world that prioritizes empathy and equality. 


Looking for something positive to post? Tweet about adding the Global Goals to your list of 2016 resolutions in TAKE ACTION NOW.