Research & Studies

Algorithmic Reproduction of Hate on Social Media

The study was written by  Ivana Stepanovic, iASK researcher and was released in a book titled GOVOR MRŽNJE in 2022.



Inspired by agent-based modelling experiments, social media strive to alter human behaviour by endorsing content that feeds our subconscious cravings to stimulate reactions or production and reproduction of digital content and, ultimately, to motivate financial transactions. YouTube dramas, dangerous TikTok challenges and hatred-fuelled comments and hashtags are instigated by profitdriven strategies and engagement-based ranking. Algorithms prefer clickable repetitive content and therefore stimulate hyperproduction of hate speech simply because it drives engagement. In this way, algorithms are regulating visibility on social media, but their settings are biased because they always adhere to the logic of the market rather than ethical standards. This rapid production of content is impossible to control or censor in real-time, and legal regulations are usually applied post festum after a cybercrime has already been committed. In Serbia, the main problems are the lack of specialised legislation and cybercrime prevention mechanisms, but also the awareness that the so-called ‘negative comments’ can be interpreted as a type of crime that can be sanctioned. This paper investigates how fast ‘prosumption’ (a combined process of production and consumption) leads to the proliferation of hate on social media while underlining the importance of raising awareness and improving the prevention of cybercrimes that are stemming from hate-fuelled narratives on social media.


Keywords: algorithms, hate speech, cybercrime, prosumption, social media


The full text study is available HERE.