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Confronting Online Extremism: The Effect of Self-Help, Collective Efficacy, and Guardianship on Being a Target for Hate Speech

NCJ Number
Social Science Computer Review Volume: 35 Issue: 5 Dated: 2017 Pages: 587-605
Date Published
19 pages

In determining who is likely to be a target of online hate and extremism, this study used an online survey (N = 963) of youth and young adults recruited from a demographically balanced sample of Americans.


Adapting routine activity theory, the study distinguished between actor-initiated social control (i.e., self-help), other-initiated social control (i.e., collective efficacy), and guardianship and show how self-help is positively related to the likelihood of being targeted by hate. The findings highlight how online exposure to hate materials, target suitability, and enacting social control online all influence being the target of hate. Using social networking sites and encountering hate material online have a particularly strong relationship with being targeted with victim suitability (e.g., discussing private matters online and participating in hate online) and confronting hate also influences the likelihood of being the target of hate speech. (publisher abstract online)

Date Published: January 1, 2017