UM E-Theses Collection (澳門大學電子學位論文庫)


A comparative study on the perceived responsibility of Internet speech between university students in Macao and US

English Abstract

The development of the internet technology is a mixed blessing: On the one hand, it facilitates mass communication at a global scale and provides an extremely efficient channel for ordinary people to voice their opinions; on the other hand, under the shield of anonymity, verbal abuse, in the name of the freedom of speech, is quite common on the internet, resulting in a subculture of “hate speech” in the virtual world. Therefore, the responsibility of internet speech in balancing the right to free speech and its harm to society has become a major concern among scholars of cyberspace culture in recent years. Focusing on the perception of “hate speech” and the willingness to contribute in stopping its spread, this thesis examines how the freedom of speech and social morality influence the perceived responsibility of the internet speech under different cultural contexts through qualitative analysis of selected group discussions among 10 university students in Macao and US, who were asked to comment on four real life “hate speech” cases from Canada, Hong Kong, China and Macao. Research findings indicate that cultural differences play an important role in affecting how people understand free speech and social morality, which in turns influence the perceived responsibility for making internet speech. Students from Macao are generally more mindful with their internet speeches and concerned more about the consequences of hate speech on society than the US students; nevertheless, to different extents, students of both groups contribute in the circulation and practice of hate speech on the internet.

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Chan, In San


Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities


Department of Communication




Internet -- Social aspects -- Macau

Internet -- Social aspects -- United Nations

Social interaction -- Technological innovations



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