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January 20, 2023: Bianca Cepollaro: Blocking Toxic Speech Online. A Qualitative Study on Social Media

Alice meets Humpty Dumpty - The Victorian Web

MELT TALK - Mind, Experience, Language, and Time - 2022-2023

Bianca Cepollaro, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University

Blocking Toxic Speech Online. A Qualitative Study on Social Media

January 20, 2023, h. 11:00-13:00.

Room Piero Martinetti, Department of Philosophy, Icehouse Courtyard, first floor, Via Festa del Perdono, 7, Milan.


In this talk, I present a qualitative study on how social media users counteract online toxic speech, i.e. speech that engages (or incites people to engage) in bigoted practices such as sexism, homophobia, racism, and so on. I focus on the practice of so-called blocking (Langton 2018), a counterspeech strategy specifically tailored to address implicit toxic discourse and prevent controversial material from being unwittingly accepted by default. Blocking is both cognitively and socially costly (it requires unpacking implicit material on the spot, and challenging the objectionable contents, thus taking a confrontational attitude), and possibly risky. The question arises: do people even engage in online counterspeech? How do they do that, if at all? After having characterized the phenomenon in face-to-face conversations, I explore the specificities of online blocking on social networks. With these tools at hand, I put forward a taxonomy of the main kinds of online blocking based on my qualitative study on Twitter and Facebook.

It will be possible to access the meeting until all places are filled.

The meeting will be held in English.

Participation is strongly recommended to students of the Doctoral School in Philosophy and Human Sciences and to students of the Doctoral School “The Human Mind and its Explanations: Language, Brain, and Reasoning”.

Everyone interested is welcome to attend.

20 January 2023
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