Since 2016, forsa has been conducting an annual survey relating to the awareness of online hate speech on behalf of the Media Authority of North Rhine-Westphalia. Through the years, the results of these surveys have verified the impression that action is required here.
The 2019 findings have shown that online aggression is still a social problem, and the awareness of hate speech remains high. 75 percent of those surveyed reported that they were personally aware of online hate speech. The rising awareness of hate speech among people aged 14 to 24 was particularly striking. 49 percent of people between 14 and 24 years old agreed with the statement that there were more Internet users posting hate-filled and harassing comments on public posts online than Internet users making factual comments on public posts (total: 36 percent).
“With a view to the development of these figures over the years, we have arrived at two key insights: the culture of online discussion is increasingly perceived as aggressive and characterised by hate and disinformation, while there is also a rising sensitivity among the population for both of these phenomena. This awareness represents an opportunity for us. We have to join forces to counteract this impression of a destructive debate culture on the Internet,” said Dr. Tobias Schmid, Director of the Media Authority of North Rhine-Westphalia in response to these findings.