Editor's note: The above video aired in October 2018 after a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue. The suspect in the shooting published hateful posts to social media sites. We verified when hate speech is legal and when it violates the First Amendment.

Constant exposure to insults and harassment can take a toll on your mental health, and with the ubiquity of the internet today, it may be hard to escape. 

Hate speech is any content that promotes fear, violence or hatred against individuals or groups based on age, race or ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, nationality, immigration status, religion, or any other characteristic associated with discrimination.

In the U.S., the First Amendment protects most kinds of speech, including speech most may find repugnant. But the fact is, private businesses have every right to restrict customers' speech if they decide they have a responsibility to cut off behavior they deem harmful.

There are some steps you can take to report hateful conduct online. However, if it goes beyond just speech, and you feel you are in physical danger, contact your local law enforcement agency.

Reporting on social media

Most social media websites have policies that prohibit expressing hate toward a person or group in comments, photos, videos, profile names, etc.

Administrators will often remove hateful content and may even ban users who repeatedly post it.

Here are some links where you can find a website's hate speech policy and how to report potential abuse. 


If you read the policy linked above and believe you've found content that violates Facebook's community standards, you can read through the steps to report it here


Fill out this online form to report hateful conduct on Twitter.


Here are some guidelines on how to report or flag inappropriate content on YouTube.


Here's where to report harassment or bullying on Instagram

Reporting to a web host

Web hosting companies may also remove websites that violate their terms of service, which might include rules against hateful content. 

You can enter a domain name into WhoIsHostingThis? to find out what company is hosting any website.

From there, you can enter the hosting provider's name into a search engine and find their terms of service and how to report violations.