Individuals and groups are frequently targets of bullying, sexual harassment, and hate speech on online platforms. Such norm violations can have detrimental negative consequences, for instance by causing psychological harm and damaging social cohesion. Finding ways to reduce and prevent online norm violations is hence crucial. Online users may play an important role in this context. We argue that it can be considered morally courageous if users decide to take a stand against perceived violations of their own moral beliefs and endorsed norms, as it may imply substantial risks for themselves. With this chapter, we aim to advance our understanding of online moral courage as a relatively new phenomenon. First, we provide an examination of critical characteristics of online environments that may facilitate or hinder moral courage. Second, we discuss consequences of online moral courage by considering its effects on perpetrators, further online users, and the general tonality of the online discourse. Last, we integrate insights on the facilitators and obstacles of online moral courage and its consequences to provide practical recommendations for the design and management of online platforms and user education and training.
Keywords: Moral courage, hate speech, harassment, anonymity, reach, bystander effect, prosociality