Since the start of confinement, hateful and discriminatory messages have been increasing on social networks (illustration). - F. Lodi / Sipa

  • Since the start of confinement, hateful and discriminatory messages have been on the rise on social networks.
  • Cyberbullying, revenge porn and other malicious online behavior have also been increasing since mid-March.
  • In order to improve the moderation of online content, Marlène Schiappa, urgently brought together several platforms last week (Twitter, Facebook, Google) and is considering setting up an "Online hate observatory".

Since the start of confinement, the French can no longer leave their homes, but still have the freedom to be able to roam on social networks. For many, this is one of the only ways to keep in touch with the outside world. But as Edouard Philippe pointed out during his speech to the Assembly, with the increase in the number of users, social networks are not today"More very social but very angry, nervous immediacy". Online behavior has evolved during this period, and trolls or other malicious Internet users are now more numerous, and above all more visible.

Containment has therefore not silenced hatred online, on the contrary ... Since the start of the health crisis linked to the coronavirus pandemic, hateful and discriminatory messages have been on the rise on social networks. According to the barometer of Netino, a company specializing in the study of social networks, 14% of online messages, partly related to containment, could be classified as hateful content in March. A figure higher than in previous months, which worries many associations fighting against racism and against discrimination.

Hate speech, cyberbullying, porn revenge ...

According to Netino's online hate panorama, hate messages posted on Twitter and Facebook, especially on the pages of the main French media, have increased significantly. "When we look at the last quarter, and when we analyze the data month by month, we clearly see an upsurge in hate content in March, especially after the start of confinement", explains Jean-Marc Royer, founder of Netino. In detail, insults between Internet users (33% of hateful content) are the most common, before attacks against political figures (26%). New, "we note the appearance of hate messages against non-civic behavior related to confinement (7%)," said the founder of Netino.

Cyber ​​bullying, another form of online hatred, has also been on the rise since the start of confinement. Some doctors, such as Professor Karine Lacombe, head of the infectious diseases department at the Saint-Antoine hospital in Paris, paid the price. “I decided to completely leave social networks, where I was trying to pass objective information, but which was ultimately drowned out by the flood of cookie-cutter judgments (…) I received emails extremely unpleasant, physical threats, insults ”, explains the doctor, who has become one of the faces of the fight against the coronavirus in France.

"Calls and reports due to cyberbullying have increased significantly," confirms the e-Childhood association, which manages the platform for helping victims of cyberbullying, Net Ecoute. "Calls have jumped 20% since the start of confinement, or about 350 per week," explains Justine Atlan, the president of the association. The revenge porn via accounts ficha [banging the poster slang], also exploded during the confinement. "Unfortunately, when people are bored, it keeps them busy harming others."

[# COVID19] “It has been developing for several weeks, a phenomenon of #fisha on social networks.
These images constitute revenge porn (without knowing your intimate photos), punished with 2 years in prison and a fine of 60,000 euros ”💬 @EricMorain #StopFisha

- State Secretariat for Equality (@Egal_FH) April 9, 2020

“Moderation concerns” for large platforms

Faced with this observation, SOS Racisme decided to launch an awareness campaign in early April called #EnsembleSurInternet with a group of associations and personalities. “We were tired of seeing torrents of hatred on the Internet. We had the idea of ​​creating a viral video to encourage platforms to react faster to reports and improve their policy of moderation ”, explains the group. Because a large part of the current problem also lies in the fact that the moderation carried out by the large platforms, in this period of overuse of social networks, is insufficient.

Today, more than ever, let's be #EnsembleSurInternet!

A collective of associations and personalities are joining forces to fight online hatred during the global health crisis of # Covid_19.

To find out more, follow this link:

- SOS Racisme (@SOS_Racisme) April 6, 2020

“With the pandemic and containment, the moderators of the large platforms cannot do their job since they can no longer go to the moderation centers . They can no longer access all of their tools and the technology they need. And suddenly, moderation takes a hit, which in a period like the one we are currently experiencing, is very worrying ", explains Noémie Madar, president of the Union of Jewish Students of France (UEJF). "If you go to Facebook and want to report content, you will automatically receive a message explaining that moderation is slower at the moment," explains the UEJF president.

YouTube, Facebook and even Twitter had to adapt their moderation policy during confinement, explaining that they had to rely more "on automated moderation tools, managed by artificial intelligence", less effective than human moderation. The Twitter platform has thus decided "not to automatically delete accounts" identified as being dangerous by artificial intelligence, and is considering establishing "a sort of sorting station" of problematic content, in order to classify them according to the emergency. to treat them.

Soon an online hate observatory?

In order to improve the moderation of online content, Marlène Schiappa, Secretary of State for Gender Equality and the fight against discrimination, urgently brought together several platforms last week (Twitter, Facebook , Google) and associations combating racism, anti-Semitism and homophobia. "The State is committed, and it is present to reaffirm that the platforms must assume their responsibilities and not relax their efforts, particularly during periods of confinement," said Marlène Schiappa's office at 20 Minutes .

“The meetings will continue in order to make a point of progress with the platforms and to reflect together on the best means of raising awareness among Internet users. The bill against Cyberhaine will go further to protect victims, "added the secretariat for equality between women and men, who also said at 20 minutes that" the creation of an Observatory of hatred online ”was raised at this meeting. A detailed report on online usage has also been commissioned by the government to check whether the increase in hate content is confirmed over the duration of confinement, in order to put it into perspective with the rate of engagement on the Internet.

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  • By the Web
  • Covid 19
  • Twitter
  • Internet
  • Troll
  • Facebook
  • Insult
  • Social media
  • Threat
  • Racism
  • Confinement
  • Coronavirus