us

The VICE Channels

    Here's a Handy Map of Post-Election Twitter Hate Speech

    Written by

    Michael Byrne

    I worry a bit about the map below’s potential for applying brushstrokes a bit too broad. It’s based on 395 tweets, singled out for their featuring of key racist terms, and that’s a number my brain has a difficult time assigning a particular weight to. What I mean — I think — is that it’s kind of a “those people” sort of project, assuming the viewer isn’t a geo-nerd and just thinks this stuff is interesting because maps rule (they do). Reservations aside, it’s worth taking a look at and, in the end, deanonymizing the internet’s hate is a good thing.

    From Floating Sheep, the geo-nerd source of the map:

    … we aggregated the 395 hate tweets to the state level and then normalized them by comparing them to the total number of geocoded tweets coming out of that state in the same time period 2. We used a location quotient inspired measure (LQ) that indicates each state’s share of election hate speech tweet relative to its total number of tweets.3 A score of 1.0 indicates that a state has relatively the same number of hate speech tweets as its total number of tweets. Scores above 1.0 indicate that hate speech is more prevalent than all tweets, suggesting that the state’s “twitterspace” contains more racists post-election tweets than the norm.

    So, are these tweets relatively evenly distributed? Or do some states have higher specializations in racist tweets? The answer is shown in the map below (also available here in an interactive version) in which the location of individual tweets (indicated by red dots)4 are overlaid on color coded states. Yellow shading indicates states that have a relatively lower amount of post-election hate tweets (compared to their overall tweeting patterns) and all states shaded in green have a higher amount. The darker the green color the higher the location quotient measure for hate tweets.

    And the map:

    If you head over to the interactive map linked above and zoom in, you might notice that Rhode Island is among the grey states with zero hate tweets. While there’s other grey states, like Wyoming, in these cases that’s more because those states just have very few Twitter users. But Rhode Island is a Twitter beehive, and it somehow managed to not say fucked up things. Good job in not being awful.

    If you’re curious about Floating Sheep’s hate-tweet criteria, here you go:

    Using the examples of tweets chronicled by Jezebel blog post [sic] we collected tweets that contained the text “monkey” or “nigger” AND also contain the text “Obama” OR “reelected” OR “won”. A quick, and very unsettling, examination of the search results revealed that this indeed was a good match for our target of election-related hate speech. We end up with a total of 395 of some of the nastiest tweets you might possibly imagine. And given that we’re talking about the Internet, that is really saying something.

    I’ll let you slap your own red/blue state map — or, better, shades-of-purple — over this, though the correlation is pretty obvious already.

    Reach this writer at michaelb@motherboard.tv.

    Connect To Motherboard

    Most Popular

    Comments
    comments powered by Disqus