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Buffalo the Most Anti-Gay City? It Looks That Way, According to Twitter Study

Image: Buffalo the Most Anti-Gay City? It Looks That Way, According to Twitter Study
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By    |   Monday, 07 Mar 2016 10:11 AM

Buffalo, New York, has been labeled the most anti-gay city based on language used in Twitter messages, or tweets, from people connected to the area, according to a new study produced by the apartment location startup Abodo.com.

Abodo.com said its looked up terms from more than 12 million tweets that ran "the gamut from (political correctness) to just plain prejudiced" from June 2014 to December, 2015 in its study, which also took notice of the most anti-black, anti-Hispanic, anti-woman, anti-transgender, and anti-overweight cities and states based on tweets.

"Compared with the usage of slurs in other categories, anti-gay language remains commonplace," the Abodo.com study found. "Buffalo, New York, leads with 168 slur-containing tweets per 100,000 tweets, but this number is hardly extraordinary compared with runners-up Arlington, Texas (161), Riverside, California (158), Fontana, California (155), and Lincoln, Nebraska (141)."

The study said it found that states like Texas, Nebraska, and Louisiana "show a level of support for legal gay marriage that's lower than the national average." The study also noted that Los Angeles and San Francisco also showed high levels of anti-gay tweets, at 86.2 and 49.6 per 100,000 tweets, respectively.

Ate Poorthuis, a doctoral student at the University of Kentucky's Department of Geography, argued on CityLab.com last year that such Twitter map studies do not delve deep enough to get a true picture of the area.

"[When] you have these giant Twitter datasets . . . it's very, very easy to get that view from above and let the data speak for itself and just sort of stop there," Poorthuis told CityLab.com. "That's not the right stopping point. You need to contextualize by looking at the data in more detail — the variables and dimensions combined with the local knowledge."

"It's 2015 now. It was cool and an engineering challenge to get these points on a map. But now it's time to ask deeper and more meaningful questions," Poorthuis continued.

The Buffalo News also argued that more questions need to be asked before labeling Buffalo as anti-gay based on Twitter language.

"What proportion of Buffalo residents use Twitter? Is this a scattershot representation of the area? Is there a reason why Twitter-using Buffalonians, identified through geo-location, would be more or less insensitive to race and sexual preference than non-Twitter users?" the newspaper questioned.

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Buffalo, New York, has been labeled the most anti-gay city based on language used in Twitter messages, or tweets, from people connected to the area, according to a new study produced by the apartment location startup Abodo.com.
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2016-11-07
Monday, 07 Mar 2016 10:11 AM
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