Blog: How I deal with online hate speech

Blog: How I deal with online hate speech

The following is a translated reproduction of the blog Ana was asked to write by UNICEF Serbia, as part of its campaign against online bullying:

We all know that celebrities (politicians, actors, singers, athletes, etc.) are often those who suffer the most from digital violence. Everybody has a right to comment on our performance, everyone could give better answers to journalists’ questions, and if we lose a match there are various theories on how it could’ve been done differently, and nobody shies away from writing about all of it on our profiles on social networks, portals, blogs, and forums.

There are many kind, positive and motivating comments, even when they are critical. Such comments give you good energy and strength to become better at what you do. But there are also plenty of malicious, obscene and inappropriate words that hurt you (no matter how strong you are). They hurt you a lot. And this hurt lingers, even when you keep saying to yourself that there are “all kinds of people”, that you cannot always come across kind persons who like you, that we have to bear the burden of our profession and fame, and that we are not the only ones who experience such things. Simply said, mean words hurt you.

I often think about whether such persons write these things carelessly and then forget about it, or if they really have a strong wish to hurt someone? And how can you wish to hurt someone you don’t know? Let alone someone you do know... and why would anyone ever wish to hurt someone they met online and through social networks? So that everyone could see their insults? Is it difficult to confront someone face to face? 

How do I cope with digital violence and hate speech on social networks? 

I simply ignore them. I cannot relate to hatred – that’s never been my thing, and I believe that the hater is the one who suffers the most, especially in case the person they hate simply ignores them. I don’t reply to such messages. And if someone else sees, reads or likes such messages – that’s not my problem either, but the problem of those who present themselves to the public in that way.

I love social networks, and I use them frequently. I like sharing good [and sometimes not so good :)] news, positive energy, nice photos, a big smile, my world, and interacting with my friends and supporters. And I like people who use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc, in the same way as I do. The world could be a nice place if we share nice thoughts, do nice things, and write nice things. And it is only up to us to make the world such a place.

Ana