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Old May 13th, 2013 (01:11 PM).
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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/13/twitter-hate-speech_n_3265916.html


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The most hateful tweeters in the United States tend to live in the eastern half of the country, according to a new map that pinpoints hate speech from Twitter across country.

The map, created by geography students at Humboldt State University in California, looks at more than 150,000 geocoded tweets (tweets that say where the user is located) between June 2012 and April 2013, sorting for those that contained a racist, homophobic or anti-disability word. The researchers then decided whether or not the tweet was using the word in a hateful way.

According to our analysis: A majority of hateful tweets are coming from smaller towns and more rural areas. For example, some of the biggest spots for homophobic tweets are along the border of Oklahoma and Texas, and one of the biggest hubs of racist tweets is in a seemingly empty area of western Indiana. There are a lot more racist tweets coming out of an area in the middle of North Dakota than in the larger city of Fargo, for example. Homophobic tweets have a wider spread across the nation than racist ones, which are coming from the southeastern portion of the country more than anywhere else.
The project is a follow-up to a similar study that mapped racial slurs on Twitter in reaction to President Obama's reelection in 2012. The students used The DOLLY Project (Digital OnLine Life and You), a huge archive of geolocated tweets, to collect data in both cases. This data can be used to track all kinds of tweets. There is also a map of where the word "grits" is most often tweeted (spoiler alert: it's the south).

The interactive map lets you zoom as far as the county level on the map to pinpoint which counties across the U.S. wrote the most hateful tweets. You can look at all hateful tweets, tweets by category, or just at specific words. The map does not include sexist terms or terms that are offensive to the mentally disabled. Some of the terms shown are sort of outdated, which is most likely why some terms are less frequent than others.
I'll add more once I can get on the laptop, but I thought this was very interesting.
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Old May 13th, 2013 (02:20 PM).
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Old May 13th, 2013 (02:35 PM).
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The anti-disability words being used are likely terms like "retarded". I don't think when one uses that term it is always hateful or geared at people with disabilities. The similar thing can be said for someone who uses phrases like "this is gay", and sometimes even "fa*". Racial slurs, well, they may be used comically or light-heartedly as many comedians do, but I would say there is more overt use in that these slurs are mostly geared toward racial minorities than it used in another sense typically. It would have been nice to know the methodologies used to clear up my questions. Overall, it is interesting.

Though, I will say this study mostly shows which areas employ more sanitized speech, but I wouldn't go as far to say more or less hateful on lines of race, sexual orientation, or cognitive/physical impairments.
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Old May 13th, 2013 (02:44 PM).
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I've worked with Twitter data before in my graduate classes, and I'm not impressed by a 150,000 tweet sample size. Nope.

Probably true information, but bad experiment.
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Old May 13th, 2013 (03:40 PM).
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Quote originally posted by TRIFORCE89:
I've worked with Twitter data before in my graduate classes, and I'm not impressed by a 150,000 tweet sample size. Nope.

Probably true information, but bad experiment.
How many Americans use Twitter exactly?

Google is failing me.
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Old May 13th, 2013 (04:22 PM).
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Quote originally posted by CarcharOdin:
How many Americans use Twitter exactly?

Google is failing me.
I'm not sure. The dataset I worked with contained 16 million tweets. However, it was not limited to just the United States. It was global. But still.. 150,000 seems really small.
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Old May 13th, 2013 (05:00 PM). Edited May 14th, 2013 by CarcharOdin.
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Quote originally posted by TRIFORCE89:
I'm not sure. The dataset I worked with contained 16 million tweets. However, it was not limited to just the United States. It was global. But still.. 150,000 seems really small.
The most I got was that only 7% of Americans use Twitter.

Given that the population of the United States is more than 300 million...that's still a pathetic sample size when you do the math. 150,000 people is only 0.05% of the population. That's far less than pretty much all of the commonly used statistical margins of error. And even if you factor in just the Twitter users, not the entire American population, that sample size is still only 0.7% of the overall Twitter-using American population.
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Old May 14th, 2013 (04:32 AM).
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Wouldn't a significant contribution to this finding simply be because more people live in the Eastern half of the US?
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Old May 14th, 2013 (10:07 AM).
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I imagine that the relatively low number of tweets is in part due to the fact that most tweets don't include hate speech.

It's interesting to see that when you zoom in on the map you find, like the article says, that there are not large concentrations of these tweets from large cities like New York City, Boston, and so on, but from relatively lower population areas. If it were a matter of population alone you would expect the cities to have brighter blobs on the map than they do. That alone, I think, is something interesting to take away.

And personally, I think that a person who says "retarded," "gay," and similar words even without specifically taking about LGBT people or people with disabilities are using hate speech. Intent isn't the only part of it. There's also the effect your language use has regardless of your intent. If I said "I don't mind people of other races, whether they're negros or Chinamen" I'd be sending a mixed message to say the least.
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Old May 14th, 2013 (10:51 AM).
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Quote originally posted by CarcharOdin:
How many Americans use Twitter exactly?

Google is failing me.
Google tells me 400 million tweets are sent each day. This is a sample of like... 1 minute. That said, this is counting only geotagged tweets, and only ones that contain hateful speech intended to be hateful. That makes the available number of tweets much smaller. It doesn't accurately represent how much of America is hateful because of that, but it does represent which areas of America are more hateful than others.
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Old May 14th, 2013 (03:07 PM).
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I think this is interesting, but I expected as much out of New York and the southern-central states i.e. Texas. Perhaps it's a stereotype, but I do see southerners slandering others in public more often (news, journals, etc.) while New York is mainly due to the awful things that keep occurring there.

I didn't expect the Bible Belt to be a band of tolerant individuals anyway. I have some good friends in Texas, though.
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Old May 14th, 2013 (03:35 PM).
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Quote originally posted by Fenneking:
The anti-disability words being used are likely terms like "retarded". I don't think when one uses that term it is always hateful or geared at people with disabilities. The similar thing can be said for someone who uses phrases like "this is gay", and sometimes even "fa*". Racial slurs, well, they may be used comically or light-heartedly as many comedians do, but I would say there is more overt use in that these slurs are mostly geared toward racial minorities than it used in another sense typically. It would have been nice to know the methodologies used to clear up my questions. Overall, it is interesting.

Though, I will say this study mostly shows which areas employ more sanitized speech, but I wouldn't go as far to say more or less hateful on lines of race, sexual orientation, or cognitive/physical impairments.
I agree with you. Being gay myself, I am not offended by the word ***, etc. because I know they are not using it in that sense. The word "***" has evolved to mean something entirely different, even if that is what the word *USED* to mean. (It used to mean a bundle of sticks as well, so that's not really an argument. The article said that the researches determined whether or not it was being used in a hateful way... that means that each of the tweets they analyzed underwent comprehensive review, and that would go along way to explaining their small sample size, as they had to individually look at every tweet and judge its content. That takes a far lot more effort than merely collecting the number of posts that have things like #wetback or #porchmonkey or #killallkikes. I haven't worked with twitter data specifically, but I know that when collecting data, taking a comprehensive review of each case slows it down significantly, as you have to more that merely collect the data in that you have to evaluate its meaning in context to your study. |

That being said... I'm not surprised. I, for one, am not surprised that most of the hate is coming from the Urban/Rural areas. Cities are far more cultural diverse than towns and other rural collectives--as a result, the residents are exposed to these different races, sexualities etc more often and thus naturally grow to accept it more. Even the ones who adamantly hate it, will view it as less wrong when it is something so common place. The number one motivator of hate is misunderstanding and fear(of the unknown, in many cases)--and that is no exception when it comes to race, gender, sexuality etc. City residents get this higher level of "education" in that regard, as the diversity of the city grants longer and more frequent exposures to such things, thus detracting the chance that they'd choose to make a remark about such a thing on twitter or facebook. I mean... there is a reason that the gay capitals of the world are cities and not towns.. people can get together more and feel safer--they build their own little communities where they stick together, and the only ones not of them are people who pay no mind to such unimportant things such as ethnicity and creed. Small towns, everybody knows everybody and people are slow to change... or at least that is what my experience has taught me.
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Old May 14th, 2013 (09:13 PM).
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Standards of subjectively defined political correctness is definitely lagging in rural areas. Though the sample size is relatively small and doesn't necessarily measure hate speech since hate speech is more or less defined by societal customs of urban areas.

Like Aranarch, I know plenty of LGBT people who will refer to themselves as a...fill in the blank. Sometimes, but not always, speech is not intended to be hateful. And surely something must be intended to be hateful to be hateful given that hateful speech is relative to the user of the speech, there is no broad universal truth to the matter.

Even using the word, "blacks" is considered politically incorrect in some circles, rather than person of color or African-American. Certainly, African-American is a limiting term, in that, it emphasizes origin and nationality. Sometimes, when referring to black people on a broader scale, internationally, African-American can be inaccurate. Sometimes political-correctness is not necessary the best use of terminology in all contexts.

Others will say that the term homosexual is politically incorrect, and rather, gay is a better term. This, I think is baseless, the term has no negative connotation in of itself, and scientifically, it a much more precise use of language; the context is essential in accessing whether something is hate speech or not.

Further, hate speech is often not based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or disability. I would say that most hate speech does not directly correlate to either of these factors directly. Women call each other "bitc*" all of the time, either as a term of endearment or to inflict pain, but I would not call either speech misogynistic; though it can be argued that hate speech to inflict pain is enough as a qualifier.

Lastly, hate speech does not even need to employ words that are commonly associated with insulting or negative connotations. For instance, is this hateful, (forgive my lacking creativity) "You have no friends, you are unattractive, you are not intelligent, you are completely and utterly a waste of human life. No one in their right mind would consider dating someone as pathetic as you, let alone love you. You will die alone and miserable, and I think that is hilarious, have fun eating like a cow". Okay, I am done, I don't know how good my mean comment skills are, but that statement had no hate words in it, and thus would not be detected. Despite not having any hate words, I would say it is much more hateful than, "I can't believe how retarded I felt when I took my test today." Yes, maybe this person could have employed more sensitivity, but the context of usage is requisite to being hate speech or not.

People in more urban areas are probably just as hateful or mean-spirited, as all people are in their own respect. This methodology might not actually detect it. Again, it does demonstrate which areas employ and perhaps create political correctness, which is, in of itself, very telling and interesting.
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Old May 14th, 2013 (11:28 PM).
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If you're going to call someone "stupid", cut the slang and just call them "stupid."

It's as bad as someone who replaces swearing with kiddy-sounding "safe words."
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Old May 21st, 2013 (07:21 PM).
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Quote originally posted by Fenneking:
The anti-disability words being used are likely terms like "retarded". I don't think when one uses that term it is always hateful or geared at people with disabilities. The similar thing can be said for someone who uses phrases like "this is gay", and sometimes even "fa*".
Before reading the post, I had those same concerns, but it does say they analyzed the tweets personally to decide if they were actually hateful or not.
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Old June 3rd, 2013 (08:31 AM).
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Quote originally posted by Cassino:
Wouldn't a significant contribution to this finding simply be because more people live in the Eastern half of the US?
If you look closely you will see the majority of the tweets did not originate in the large metropolitan areas of the eastern U.S, so that really doesn't matter, as true as it may be.
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