Congressman José E. Serrano

Representing the 15th District of New York

Congressman Serrano and Senator Casey Introduce the Stop HATE Act to Address the Rise in Hate Crimes Through Social Media

Mar 28, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman José E. Serrano (D-The Bronx) and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced the Stop Harmful and Abusive Telecommunications Expression (HATE) Act, legislation to address how social media and other forms of electronic communication have helped spread hate speech and fuel the rise in hate crimes against minority groups.

“Hate speech online is directly related to the rise of hate crimes in the U.S. and worldwide. As an avid user of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to communicate with my constituents, I’ve witnessed firsthand the rise in hate speech online in recent years. Many times, I’ve been the target of hateful rhetoric on these platforms,” said Congressman Serrano. “Given the devastating attacks in Pittsburgh, Charleston, New Zealand, and elsewhere, countering hate crimes must be a priority in this Congress. The Stop HATE Act will help us better understand the role of social media, which has become ingrained in our daily lives, plays in aiding the spread of hate speech and crimes. It will also help us understand what we can do to prevent the First Amendment from being weaponized in order to hurt other Americans because of their race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, or sexual orientation.”

“The rapid development of media platforms and technology has outpaced our understanding of how they can be used to disseminate hate,” said Senator Casey. “We need to examine how these platforms and technologies have been used to facilitate the commission of hate crimes so we can take appropriate steps to prevent another tragedy. I hope my colleagues in Congress will join in this effort to help address hate-based violence in the United States and around the world.”

In 1993, the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the principal adviser on telecommunications policies and regulations for the federal government, released a report entitled The Role of Telecommunications in Hate Crimes. The report examined how telecommunications of that era played in the rise of hate crimes and recommended ways the government and private citizens could combat these growing threats. The Stop HATE Act would direct the Departments of Commerce and Justice to update its 1993 report by analyzing all new forms of electronic communications that have since been developed; issue a new report to Congress including recommendations, consistent with the First Amendment, to address these threats; and require the NTIA to periodically report to Congress with its assessment of new forms of media that emerge.

House cosponsors include Reps. Ro Khanna, Gwen Moore, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Steve Cohen, Val Demings, Nydia M. Velázquez, Alcee L. Hastings, Brenda L. Lawrence, and Yvette D. Clarke. Senate cosponsors include Senators Bernie Sanders, Chris Van Hollen, Bob Menendez, Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris, Doug Jones, and Cory Booker. The bill is supported by the National Hispanic Media Coalition, Free Press Action Fund, the Anti-Defamation League, and Color of Change.