Hate speech

Social media users may become aware of private messages attacking them directly because of online or offline activities such as the ones which are connected to the communities they identify with, as well as direct responses to social media post threads on which they may be active. But other forms of digital content such as memes with misogynistic or homophobic content can often pass as mere sarcasm or humour; when in-depth, they are reflections of intolerance or hate. For example, in reference to certain scenes in the Netflix series discussed earlier, memes circulating on local social media networks ridiculed women who reject non-consensual encounters with men, citing a scene where a lead actress rejected another character. The meme hinted that women with non-traditional ways of life “ask for it” and do not have the right to object to men; a narrative women and human rights movements firmly oppose.

As waves of misogynistic and hyper-masculine comments spammed the pages of the young series participants, the production company, Netflix, responded to public pressure by stating that it will not tolerate (Nahhas 2019) the violation of the series’ team. The response on social media, especially towards the actresses, was alarming. The same individuals who claimed the series promotes moral degradation (Luck 2019), made abusive public responses and insults which to date, went unaccounted for.

The example from the case of Jinn reflects a broader practice. Comments frequently refer to women who are public figures or who represent success stories as immoral. Women not adhering to the traditional roles assigned for their gender arc referred to as sources of shame and as causes of problems for society. Similar sentiments also appear in the comments section of video posts of interviews taken by local TV' stations featuring special guests such as female politicians and entrepreneurs. Such threads often require “filtering”, a Facebook feature which allows page administrators to sort comments from the page’s users and remove the unwanted ones, such as these with abusive content. This affordance also appears to be regularly activated on documentaries or news videos showcasing the rituals of religious minorities too.

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