Social Media, Hate Speech, and Citizenship Education in Canada

Paper presented at the meeting of the Canadian Society for the Study of Education, Ottawa, ON.

 R. McGray, N. Fournier-Sylvester, T. Thomas, S. Das, K. Urbaniak, V. Venkatesh, & J. Rabah.


This presentation seeks to address the connection between citizenship education in Canada and the phenomenon of hate speech in social media. To do so, the presentation will report on initial findings of the Project SOMEONE (SOcial Media EducatiON Everyday) research program, which is aimed at developing curricula for learning across the lifespan to prevent and combat hate appearing in online environments. This interdisciplinary research project seeks to understand how educational technologies, specifically social media, can be coupled with theories of citizenship and peace education in order to raise consciousness around contentious socio-political issues. This project aims to equip Canadians with the competences necessary to recognize and act against online hate, providing them with curricular material and associated pedagogical strategies that support healthy communication, foster powerful learning spaces, and engage communities in productive public discussion. Likewise, this research aims to identify how Canadians participate in online communities that foster citizenship in the face of adversity and how the evolving field of social media acts to enable or constrain resilience. Discussants include experts from the fields of Citizenship and Peace Education, Educational Technology, Critical Media Studies, Art Education, Marketing, Sociology, and Computer Science.