Zooming in on Hate: LICRA's work in France

Zooming in on Hate: LICRA's work in France

In the latest episode of the podcast series “Zooming in on Hate,” Lydia El-Khouri interviews Maia Feijoo from LICRA, the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism. Maia provides an overview of LICRA’s work in France, highlighting its longstanding history since its inception in 1927, initially focused on anti-Semitism before expanding to combat all forms of racism. LICRA’s activities include educational trainings in schools and police academies, legal support for victims of racism and anti-Semitism, and corporate trainings.

Maia discusses the intersection of online hate with societal issues such as political events and social crises. She cites examples like the French presidential elections and the migrant crisis in Lampedusa, which saw significant spikes in online hate speech. She also highlights the role of algorithms in perpetuating hate, as they tend to amplify the content users engage with, creating a harmful feedback loop.

The conversation shifts to the role of tech platforms in combating online hate. While platforms have community guidelines, Maia notes they often fail to enforce them consistently. She emphasizes the importance of the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA) in holding platforms accountable and mentions LICRA’s involvement in the SafeNet project, which monitors online hate speech across Europe.

Maia underscores the impact of national laws and political contexts on the effectiveness of combating online hate, noting discrepancies between countries. She calls for greater collaboration between civil society, tech companies, law enforcement, and policymakers, using projects like SafeNet as a model for joint efforts.

Discussing the future, Maia reflects on the potential and challenges of emerging technologies like AI in the fight against online hate. She stresses the need for regulation to address biases in AI systems and the high costs of implementing such technologies for NGOs.

In closing, Maia is asked what she would do with a magic wand to solve the biggest problem in combating online hate. She envisions better training for AI and human moderators to fully understand and address all forms of hate speech.

This episode provides valuable insights into LICRA’s multifaceted approach to tackling online hate and underscores the complex interplay between technology, regulation, and societal dynamics in this ongoing battle.