Anti-Asian Racism in Australian Social Media

Cover of "Anti-Asian Racism in Australian Social Media"

This report builds on past work on anti-Asian racism in Australia and adds a particular focus on racism in social media. The new in-depth research was led by the Online Hate Prevention Institute in partnership with the Australian Human Rights Commission and Meta.

The research used a mixed methods approach involving online data collection from Facebook and Instagram, a survey, and a consultation with leaders from Asian Australian communities around Australia. The report makes 45 recommendations to tackle the problem of online anti-Asian racism. Some recommendations are general to the problem of online hate, others are more specific and aim to help correctly identify anti-Asian racism.

The report highlights how the mainstream media and social media played a significant role in people’s experiences of anti-Asian racism during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Internet allowed racism to spread further, faster, and to be facilitated by anonymity. Asian Australian community leaders expressed concern that inhibitions against racism in the online world were lower than offline. They also expressed concerns over a lack of transparency in online moderation.

The research examined 182 items of anti-Asian hate from Facebook and Instagram and classified it using a new schema for anti-Asian racism. The two most common themes were demonising / dehumanising Asians (37%) and attacking Asians because of their culture (37%). Survey and focus group responses validated the schema as a useful tool for categorising anti-Asian hate.

The report also discussed: how to separate legitimate criticism of political parties, governments, and government policies from vilification of people, how communities can effectively use counter speech to challenge racist comments, how to better tackle the problem of managing racist comments on social media, how to respond to disinformation, how to tackle serious and serial abuses on social media, and how online racism might be better regulated in Australia.


  • The full report is available to view or download via the National Library of Australia (check the box to agree to view sensitive material). Please cite this report as:
    • AGLC 4: A Oboler, Anti-Asian Racism in Australian Social Media (Online Hate Prevention Institute, 2022).
    • APA 7: Oboler, A. (2022). Anti-Asian Racism in Australian Social Media. Online Hate Prevention Institute.
    • Harvard: Oboler, A 2022, Anti-Asian Racism in Australian Social Media, Online Hate Prevention Institute, Melbourne.
    • IEEE: A. Oboler, Anti-Asian Racism in Australian Social Media, Melbourne: Online Hate Prevention Institute, 2022.
  • Extract: Foreword by Commissioner Chin Tan, Race Discrimination Commissioner at Australian Human Rights Commission. (1 page)
  • Extract: Executive Summary (3 pages)
  • Extract: Recommendations (4 pages)