How to Challenge Online Hate

What is Counter Narrative or Counter Messaging and how do I use it?

Imagine logging onto your social media account one day and seeing messages, videos and memes about your sexual orientation, race, gender identity, religion or disability. The posts are offensive and other people have made hateful comments on the post. Seeing this may make you feel alone, sad, angry or depressed that people are saying those things. You may feel scared that this is how everyone feels and feel unsafe or ashamed to belong to the targeted identity group.

Now imagine how you would feel if someone commented that they didn’t agree with the post and found it offensive, challenged what was being said or disproved the lies. You are no longer alone and can see that this is not how everyone feels. You may feel supported by others and proud of who you are.

Counter narrative or counter messaging provides people with a chance to challenge offensive, fake or negative information they see online and support people who may be affected by what they have seen. ‘Narrative’ is just another term for a ‘story’, so a ‘counter narrative’ is an alternative story, aimed at countering and providing a different viewpoint to a negative, ‘hateful’ story or message. You are likely to find opportunities to use counter narrative on most social media platforms in the comments section. When considering the use of counter narrative you should think carefully about how to engage safely.

Below are links to some advice about how to stay safe online and ways to engage in counter narrative or counter messaging.


We have provided examples of when counter narrative might be appropriate. Each example allows opportunity for thought and discussion around the impact of hate speech on viewers and why it may be good to provide positive input in some situations.

Click on the images below to open each story:

If you choose to engage in counter narrative, it is important that you do it safely. Please follow these tips to remain safe online:

  • Check your privacy settings – make sure that your personal information is not available to everyone. This means that only your friends can see your posts, photos and details such as which school you go to.
  • Think before you post – Is the message going to make the situation worse. Or anger the person posting the Hate Speech. If things escalate remember you can block people and report to social media if you are concerned.

For further information on how to stay safe online click here:





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