Current forsa surveyEvery sixth person affected by hate on the net

For the past seven years, the Media Authority of North Rhine-Westphalia has published an annual representative forsa survey on the public's perception of hate speech. The latest figures are now available for 2023 as well. Two things in particular are striking: It is encouraging that more and more people are taking active action against hate speech. What is less encouraging, however, is that younger respondents in particular frequently state that they have been affected by hate speech themselves.

The proportion of respondents who have encountered hate speech on the Internet remains at a consistently high level of 76 percent. There are clear age-specific differences in the perception of hate speech on the Internet: The younger the respondents are, the more hate speech they perceive. And they are affected by hate speech themselves with above-average frequency. Almost 40 percent of 14- to 24-year-olds who have already perceived hate comments also say they have been affected by hate speech themselves.

Over the years, it is becoming increasingly clear that more people are reporting hate comments to platforms (2019 - 25%, 2023 - 30%). Again, young target groups are more active than older ones.

Good news for law enforcement and media oversight, too: despite a slight decline in the figure, three-quarters (75%) of respondents still perceive criminal prosecution as the most effective means of combating hate comments online. This is directly followed by deleting such comments, as provided for in media law procedures (71%). Cooperation such as that between the BKA and the media institutions starts precisely there.

And existing cooperative ventures between media regulators and offerings such as "Stark im Amt" also seem to be in the right place. The respondents perceive that politicians are most affected by hate comments (57%). They are directly followed by people with other political views (48%), refugees (43%) and people with a migration background (42%) as well as members of the LGBTQ community (36%).