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Meldestelle REspect x Decoding Antisemitism

The “Meldestelle REspect!” (REspect! – The Reporting Office for Hate Speech on the Net) of the Youth Foundation Baden-Württemberg is an online hub for reporting and documenting hate incidents occurring in cyberspace. It offers reporting parties advice on the legal classification of postings, and referral advice for those affected. Criminal content is reported to the police and deletion requests are made to providers. Funded by the federal programme “Demokratie leben!” / “Living Democracy!”, by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Integration of the state of Baden-Württemberg and of the free state of Bavaria in Germany, it is active in the fields of social cohesion, extremism prevention and human rights education.

The cooperation, set to start in summer 2022, is based upon a mutually beneficial dialogue aimed at pooling the data and the expertise. On the one hand, “REspect!” makes its user report data available to the Decoding Antisemitism team, who can integrate it into the qualitative analysis to identify recurring topoi, stereotypes and linguistic-semiotic patterns. The data is also fed into a machine learning algorithm for the automated detection of such content. On the other hand, Decoding Antisemitism will provide the Meldestelle with a set of guidelines in order to better identify and classify antisemitic discourse. Based on extensive previous empirical research, this multi-dimensional “guidebook” maps out the most common antisemitic tropes and narratives, but also emphasises common linguistic and visual strategies used to articulate such ideas. The Decoding Antisemitism research team – hailing from a wide variety of disciplinary background such as linguistics, political science or history – will accompany the Office’s staff in their activity. This sustained cooperation will help bridge the gap between cutting-edge scientific research on the latest evolution of antisemitic discourses and the practical implementation of measures aimed at countering hate speech in online spaces.