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Tactical interventions in online hate speech: The case of #stopIslam

Poole, Elizabeth; De Quincey, Ed; Giraud, Eva

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Eva Giraud


This article sets out findings from a project focused on #stopIslam, a hashtag that gained prominence following the Brussels terror attack of 2016. We initially outline a big data analysis which shows how counter-narratives – criticizing #stopIslam – momentarily subverted negative news reporting of Muslims. The rest of the article details qualitative findings that complicate this initial positive picture. We set out key tactics engaged in by right-wing actors, self-identified Muslim users, would-be allies and celebrities and elucidate how these tactics were instrumental in the direction, dynamics and legacies of the hashtag. We argue that the tactical interventions of tightly bound networks of right-wing actors, as well as the structural constraints of the platform, not only undermined the longevity and coherence of the counter-narratives but subtly modulated the affordances of Twitter in ways that enabled these users to extend their voice outwards, reinforcing long-standing representational inequalities in the process.


Poole, E., De Quincey, E., & Giraud, E. (2020). Tactical interventions in online hate speech: The case of #stopIslam. New Media and Society, 23(6), 1415–1442.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 6, 2020
Publication Date Mar 3, 2020
Journal New Media and Society
Print ISSN 1461-4448
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 23
Issue 6
Pages 1415–1442
Keywords interventions, hate speech, Islam
Publisher URL


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