Informations and abstract
Keywords: Social Networks; Slurs; Hate Speech; Irony; Racist Humor; Sexist Humor.
Social networks pose new problems in the study of communication, while also amplifying old ones. In this paper we assess the role that the identity of users plays in guiding their readers towards the correct interpretation of their apparently discriminatory uses of language on social network such as Facebook and Twitter: in particular, we focus on non-derogatory uses of slurs on the one hand, and apparently discriminatory irony and humor on the other hand. In these cases, the user’s identity plays a crucial role in the interpretation of the content conveyed by her utterance: to lose track of it may dramatically change the intended meaning, as well as, in some cases, question the legitimacy of her ironic and humoristic uses of language in relation to issues such as racial and gender discrimination. Moreover, the fact that the identity of the writer is hard to pin down poses serious challenges to the issue of censorship: to develop specific policies – which is of the highest importance in managing social networks – requires addressing many theoretical as well as practical issues that we tried to illustrate in this paper.