Hate Speech and Covert Discrimination on Social Media: Monitoring the Facebook Pages of Extreme-Right Political Parties in Spain

Anat Ben-David, Ariadna Matamoros Fernández


This study considers the ways that overt hate speech and covert discriminatory practices circulate on Facebook despite its official policy that prohibits hate speech. We argue that hate speech and discriminatory practices are not only explained by users’ motivations and actions, but are also formed by a network of ties between the platform’s policy, its technological affordances, and the communicative acts of its users. Our argument is supported with longitudinal multimodal content and network analyses of data extracted from official Facebook pages of seven extreme-right political parties in Spain between 2009 and 2013. We found that the Spanish extreme-right political parties primarily implicate discrimination, which is then taken up by their followers who use overt hate speech in the comment space.


social media, hate speech, covert discrimination, extremism, extreme right, political parties, Spain, Facebook, digital methods

Full Text: