Congressman José E. Serrano

Representing the 15th District of New York

Congressman Serrano Introduces Stop HATE Act to Prevent the Rise in Hate Crimes Through Social Media

Dec 1, 2017
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressmen José E. Serrano (D-The Bronx) introduced legislation to address how social media and other forms of electronic communication have helped fuel the rise in hate crimes against certain minority groups around the country.

“As a member of Congress who avidly uses Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to communicate with my constituents, these electronic platforms that have become ingrained in our daily lives cannot be used to support and amplify hateful speech that seeks to demean or harm others,” said Congressman Serrano. “This legislation will help us better understand the role these technologies play 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, or national origin.”

In 1993, the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the principal adviser on telecommunications policies and regulations for the federal government, released a report entitled The Role of Telecommunications in Hate Crimes. It examined the role 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 been developed since the rise of the Internet in the early 1990s and issue a new report to Congress one year after enactment, and every five years to continue assessing new forms of media. It would also include recommendations, consistent with the First Amendment, to address these threats.

The bill is supported by the National Hispanic Media Coalition, Free Press Action Fund, and the Anti-Defamation League. To view the text of the legislation is below: