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Hatred and threats on the Internet have increased during epidemics

Hatred and threats on the Internet have increased during epidemics

Report Compiled on behalf of the charity Ditch The Label in association with analytics firm Brandwatch. The focus was on the spread of hatred related to race, gender, gender identity and sexual orientation.

Using data obtained between 2019-2021, researchers analyzed approximately 263 million conversations, where there was disgust. Of these, more than 50 million cases involved conversations discussed or racially motivated hatred.

On average, hatred of the Internet has increased by about 20 percent since before the epidemic, but some groups were even worse. According to the report, there has been a 1,662 per cent increase in hatred against Asians in particular. The origin of the epidemic in China is considered a factor.

Hatred increases in events

This study can establish a general link between major events and increased resentment online. In the United States, for example, hate speech and debate escalated as the WHO classified the virus outbreak as a pandemic, and in line with Black Lives Matter’s demonstrations in the summer of 2020.

Similar increases were seen in the UK, but peaked in March 2021 in connection with the assassination of Sarah Everett and the shooting in Plymouth in August of the same year. Later, five people died, except for the culprit who took his own life.

The link between cyber hatred and crime

Furthermore, the study suggests a link between hate on the internet and real hate crimes actually committed. In both the United States and the United Kingdom, the amount of hate speech was related to reported hate crimes, and in both cases the total amount increased during epidemics.

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“The increase in discussions about hate crimes and hate speech on the Internet indicates a worrying connection between words on the Internet and actions in ‘reality’,” the authors of the report write in their study.

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