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Counterspeech: A Literature Review

by Catherine Buerger; Lucas Wright

Nov 20, 2019

Every day, internet users encounter hateful and dangerous speech online, and some of them choose to respond directly in order to refute or undermine it. We call this counterspeech. Only a few studies have attempted to measure the effectiveness of counterspeech directly, and as far as we know, this is the first review of relevant literature.

We've collected and reviewed related articles from a range of fields including political science, sociology, countering violent extremism, and computational social science. These articles do not all use the term "counterspeech," but they shed light on various features of successful counterspeech, for example, qualities that make speakers/authors more influential in online interactions or the extent to which pro- and anti-social behavior is contagious on the internet.