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Our Commitment to Fighting Hate Speech

Posted by Mario Paganini on February 08, 2017

Free speech is a fundamental part of the Disqus network. We power diverse discussions across millions of websites, reaching billions of readers. Our platform enables people from across the web and around the world to share, discuss, and debate issues and their beliefs. Whether or not we personally identify with everything posted on our network, we believe in the right to speak our minds and share our ideas.

As a company, we encourage our team to speak their minds respectfully and promote diversity of thought. We are a team of varied backgrounds, cultures, and beliefs. The diversity of our team helps us to build solutions for publishers of all shapes and sizes. It makes Disqus a great place to work. And it is something that we strive to protect.

Recently, many passionate users have reached out to us regarding instances of hate speech across our network. Language that offends, threatens, or insults groups solely based on race, color, gender, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or other traits is against our network terms and has no place on the Disqus network. Hate speech is the antithesis of community and an impediment to the type of intellectual discussion that we strive to facilitate.

We know that language published on our network does not exist within a vacuum. It has the power to reach billions of people, change opinions and incite action. Hate speech is a threat, not only to those it targets, but to constructive discourse of all forms across all communities. Hate speech creates fear, deters participation in public debate, and hinders diversity of thoughts and opinions.

We have the opportunity and the responsibility to combat hate speech on our network. Our goal is to foster environments where users can express their diverse opinions without the fear of experiencing hate speech. We persistently remove content that contains hate speech or that otherwise violates our terms and policies. However, we know that simply reactively removing hate speech is not sufficient. That is why we are dedicated to building tools for readers and publishers to combat hate speech, and are open to partnering with other organizations who share our goal.

We recently released several features to help readers and publishers better control offensive and otherwise unwanted content. User Blocking and User Flagging allow users to block and report other users who are violating our terms of service. Our new moderation panel makes it easier for publishers to identify and moderate comments based on user reputation.

Currently, we are working on improved tools to help publishers effectively prevent troublesome users from returning to their sites. And as we get smarter about identifying hate speech, we are working on ways to automatically remove it from our network.

As an organization, Disqus firmly stands against hate speech in all forms. To recap, in an effort to combat hate speech both on and off our network, we are making the following commitments:  

  1. We will enforce our terms of service by removing hate speech and harassment on our network. To report hate speech and other abusive behavior, please follow these instructions.
  2. We will invest in  new features for publishers and readers to better manage hate speech. We hope to talk more about this soon.
  3. To support this philosophy, we will also be supporting organizations that are equipped to fight hate speech outside of Disqus. We are exploring several options and plan to dedicate portions of our advertising profits to fight hate speech.

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