The use of hyperlinking as evidential practice in Danish online hate speech
Using data from readers’ comments to news articles from a national Danish newspaper, the article addresses the nature and function of hyperlinks as evidential practice in relation to xenophobic hate speech. Hyperlinks refer to the use of URL addresses to link to websites; hate speech is understood broadly as stigmatising discourse. Adopting a discursive approach to evidentiality that accounts for a range of phenomena including source of knowledge, participant roles, epistemic stance and interactional force, hate speech related hyperlinks and their evidential functions were identified. While not prevalent in number, hyperlinks serve to legitimise negative stances towards minority groups but also support counter speech targeting prejudicial views. Links can be used as part of processes of metaphorical shift and sarcasm as well as to provoke hate speech in comment threads. As URL addresses are frequently textual, they can have evidential functions independent of the material that they link to.