Incitement to Kill: Tracking hate speech targeting Ukrainians during Russia’s war in Ukraine
By Benjamin Strick Executive Summary This research examines the use of hate speech and national slurs to dehumanise, call for violence against, and celebrate the death of Ukrainians. The data analysed indicates widespread hate speech targeting Ukrainians primarily on Twitter and Telegram. Further examination of these accounts indicates the content was further spread to YouTube and Facebook. The research was accomplished by analysing data collected from Twitter and Telegram based on national slur

Data collected from Twitter and Telegram shows that there is increased use of slurs against Ukrainians, calling for violence and celebrating the death of Ukrainians, despite platform policies that are meant to stop, or at least mitigate this activity, the Centre for Information Resilience says. The dataset collected and analysed in the research resulted in 1585 accounts with more than 2500 interactions from Twitter, and 15655 results from more than 480 channels on Telegram.

Twitter accounts that were found to be using hate speech include accounts that are verified with a blue tick were also targeting the LGBTQI+ community and sharing memes and messages related to conspiracy theories.

The accounts analysed on Telegram include channels that took videos of Ukrainian funerals, or from Ukrainians who had visited graves, and reposted them with degrading and dehumanising comments. Other channels specifically focus on looking for dead or captured Ukrainians and celebrating the circumstances around that imagery. The content circulated in these channels was reposted on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.

The phrasing and language seen in the content uncovered in this research can be compared to similarities in language used in other scenarios where hate speech has incited and/or fuelled violence, the report says. Historically, hate speech has been used to justify, incite and fuel violence against groups, minorities and ethnicities such as in the Holocaust, by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, in Rwanda against the Tutsi people and in Myanmar against the Rohingya.

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