Saturday, December 30, 2017

Hate Crimes and the Social Media

A new study has found a direct link between social media hate and subsequent violent attacks on immigrant groups in both Germany and the US.

Karsten Müller and Carlo Schwarz of the University of Warwick in the UK collected data from the AfD's Facebook and Twitter accounts to "show that right-wing anti-refugee sentiment ... predicts violent crimes against refugees. Not only that, the study, entitled "Fanning the Flames of Hate: Social Media and Hate Crime" also found evidence that Donald Trump's tweets predicted hate crimes against specific minorities he mentioned — an effect that has been heightened since Trump became US president.

The paper show almost exact correlations between the peaks and troughs in the number of anti-refugee posts on social media and the number of attacks against refugees between late 2015 and early 2017. The same holds true for Trump's tweets — the report measured social media sentiment by the number of the president's tweets per week, and matched it with FBI hate crime data

"We find that Trump tweets are a strong time-series predictor of such crimes," the researchers wrote. "Crucially, the effect exclusively works through incidents aimed at the groups targeted by Trump's tweets; anti-Hispanic tweets, for example, have no effect on hate crimes against Muslims, Jews, African Americans, or Whites."

The former president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany and  currently the president of the Jewish Community of Munich and Upper Bavaria, Charlotte Knobloch, voiced concern over growing anti-Semitic sentiment in the country. "Anti-Semitism, has grown on the right and the left, in the Muslim community and also in the heart of German society," Knobloch said.  She underlined the fact that anti-Semitism is widespread online and on social media 

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