• Participation by invitation only

Combatting Online Hate Speech

The Israel Democracy Institute and Yad Vashem are conducting a collaborative research program on combatting online hate speech. The program is intended to provide policy advice on this growing phenomenon to international IT and social media corporations. Moreover, the program's recommendations may also be relevant to decision makers and regulators in various countries and international organizations.

The program is comprised of three in-depth studies conducted by a team of Israeli and international researchers. The research carried out will be overseen by a steering committee made up of Senior Fellows from IDI and Yad Vashem, as well as prominent international experts: Prof. Irwin Cotler (former Minister of Justice of Canada), Prof. David Kaye (UN special rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression), Prof. Tendayi Achiume (UN Rapporteur on Racism), Prof. Sarah Cleveland (Vice Chairman of the UN Human Rights Committee), Prof. Jacques de Werra (Vice-Rector of the University of Geneva), Avner Shalev (Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate) and Prof. Yuval Shany (Vice President of Research at The Israel Democracy Institute and Chair of the UN Human Rights Committee).

A draft of the program's first study which explores the legal and regulatory framework underpinning the debate on online hate speech, by Dr. Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler and Mr. Rotem Medzini, will be presented at a research seminar which will take place at the Israel Democracy Institute, on Wednesday November 7th, 2018, from 11:45am-6pm. Seminar participants will include international and Israeli experts on online hate speech and address the challenges it poses. 

The event will be held in English.

11:45-12:00 Reception

12:00-13:00 Hate Speech in Criminal Law – Theory and Practice 

This session will explore when and under which circumstances freedom of expression should be limited and hate speech be criminalized, both in general, and with regards to online hate speech in particular.

Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer, The Israel Democracy Institute; Amit Merari, Deputy Attorney General for Criminal-Law

Adv. Lilach Vagner, Ministry of Justice

13:00-13:30 Lunch 

13:30-14:30 Hate Speech Policies for Social Media Networks 

Social networks have been placed under increasing pressure to regulate hate speech by removing content, preventing access and instating community rules. This session takes a look at the current policies employed by social media companies, and their interplay with the relevant national and international legal regulations. 

Ms. Jordana Cutler, Facebook Israel
Dr. Tomer Shadmy, The Hebrew University 

14:30-16:00 "Because my Computer Said So": Technological Analysis of Online Hate Speech 

Regulating online hate speech rests on the assumption of a technological capacity to identify prohibited speech, block access to it, and perhaps also trace its source. This session discusses different technological possibilities, constraints upon regulations, and explores the role of artificial intelligence and machine learning in the regulatory scheme.

Dr. Omri Abend, The Hebrew University
Dr. Eitan Eliram, Innovation Strategist 

16:00-18:00 Policy Recommendations for Tackling Hate Speech on the Internet

This session examines the draft report on how IT companies and social networks can deal effectively with the growing phenomenon of online hate speech. An innovative model which seeks to provide networks with the adequate criteria to examine the intensity of expressions of hate speech will be presented, and recommendations for new ways of dealing with online hate speech will be explored. 

Dr. Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler, The Israel Democracy Institute
Mr. Rotem Medzini, The Israel Democracy Institute

Discussant: Prof. Tal Zarsky, University of Haifa