Washington, D.C. - As communities around the world attempt to heal in the wake of the New Zealand shooting, and as we commemorate five months since the massacre at Tree of Life synagogue, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and Rep. José Serrano (D-NY) have introduced a measure that aims to prevent online extremism from turning into real-life hate crimes. Casey is joined in this effort by Senators Booker (D-NJ), Harris (D-CA), Jones (D-AL), Klobuchar (D-MN), Menendez (D-NJ), Sanders (I-VT) and Van Hollen (D-MD).
“The rapid development of media platforms and technology has outpaced our understanding of how they can be used to disseminate hate,” said Senator Casey. “We need to examine how these platforms and technologies have been used to facilitate the commission of hate crimes so we can take appropriate steps to prevent another tragedy. I hope my colleagues in Congress will join in this effort to help address hate-based violence in the United States and around the world.”
Following the shootings at two mosques in New Zealand, the massacre at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, and the violent gathering of white supremacists in Charlottesville, it has become clear that online platforms are being used to spread hateful rhetoric and incite real-life violence. The Stop HATE Act would require the Departments of Commerce and Justice to study how current forms of telecommunication are being used to fuel violence and hate crimes against individuals or groups, and recommend ways—consistent with the First Amendment—that the government or private citizens can combat these growing threats. A previous version of this report (found here) was released in 1993 but has not been updated in over 25 years.
A copy of the legislation can be found here.