Combating Online Hate Speech: The Impact of Legislation on Twitter

52 Pages Posted: 21 Jan 2022

See all articles by Raphaela Andres

Raphaela Andres

ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research

Olga Slivko

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University

Date Written: 2021

Abstract

We analyze the impact of the Network Enforcement Act, the first regulation which aims at restraining hate speech on large social media platforms. Using a difference-in- differences framework, we measure the causal impact of the German law on the prevalence of hateful content on German Twitter. We find evidence of a significant and robust decrease in the intensity and volume of hate speech in tweets tackling sensitive migration-related topics. Importantly, tweets tackling other topics as well as the tweeting style of users are not affected by the regulation, which is in line with its aim. Our results highlight that legislation for combating harmful online content can influence the prevalence of hate speech even in the presence of platform governance mechanisms.

Keywords: Social Networks, User-Generated Content, Hate Speech, Policy Evaluation

JEL Classification: H41, J15, K42, L82, L86

Suggested Citation

Andres, Raphaela and Slivko, Olga, Combating Online Hate Speech: The Impact of Legislation on Twitter (2021). ZEW - Centre for European Economic Research Discussion Paper No. 21-103, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4013662 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4013662

Raphaela Andres (Contact Author)

ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research ( email )

P.O. Box 10 34 43
L 7,1
D-68034 Mannheim, 68034
Germany

Olga Slivko

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University ( email )

RSM Erasmus University
PO Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

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