Hate speech on online social networks in Slovenia

The basic research activities of the project follow two directions. Participating partners will first examine the occurrence of hate speech in the Slovene language in the corresponding parts of global online social networks (OSNs). On this basis, it will be identified in which social networks and at which locations (groups, profiles) hate speech is most present, and then the phenomena will be analyzed qualitatively. The distinction between hate speech in a broader, sociological sense (as well as other related controversial communications) and hate speech in the legal sense will be made. A qualitative analysis of hate speech on social networks will be followed by an analysis of the criteria used by OSNs in removing reported cases of alleged hate speech and an analysis of response indicators – in particular the speed of removal, the type of (non) response (eg probable automatic handling, the presence of a specific explanation, complete non-response) and rates of removal in individual cases of hate speech that the OSN provider performs on the basis of the application. Whether and how the responsiveness of networks is affected by who is the content submitter will be checked. There is an important distinction between the normal user, OSN approved reporters or “trusted flaggers”, and an official authority (police). Preliminary data from the FDV partner, who has gained the status of a Slovenian “trusted flagger” for the leading OSNs (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube) suggests that these authentic notifiers achieve the removal of the disputable content much faster. The second course of activities will include the analysis of actual and normative (to the extent of availability of these regulations) criteria of the OSN providers in removing alleged cases of hate speech (their self-regulation in their role of Internet service providers) and the corresponding comparison with the Slovenian Constitution and the criminal law regulations in the area of restrictions to the freedom of speech in Slovenia. Accordingly, hate speech in the criminal law perspective will be firstly delineated, and then, on the basis of the practice of the European Court of Human Right and Council of Europe directives demarcation between freedom of expression and the prohibition of hate speech will be shown. In this context, the attention to conceptual problems, inconsistencies, contradictions and inconsistencies of existing legal solutions and connected legal practice will be drawn, as well as – based on the position of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia – a potential anomy when hate speech can be prosecuted on one hand as a criminal offense under Article 297 of the Slovenian Penal Code (KZ-1), and at the same time it is defined in several other legal acts as an offense will be mentioned. Based on the international activities of the project team – in particular FDV’s membership in the International Network Against Cyber Hate, which systematically monitors and reports hate speech on a global level and advises on policy-making, findings will also be placed in an international context.

Project execution

Main phases of the project:

  • Legal aspects of hate speech
  • Hate speech appearance (on social networks)
  • Responsiveness of social networks (to hate speech reports)
  • Evaluation
  • Dissemination


  • University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Social Sciences (project coordinator)
  • Institute of Criminology at the Faculty of Law
  • Peace Institute


Slovenian Research Agency