There is a definite link between hate speech on social media and real-life racial violence, a new study has found.
Researchers from New York University now believe that racist posts on Twitter can predict real-life hate crimes against minorities. This is according to findings of a five-year study, which was presented at the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence Conference on Web and Social Media in Munich, Germany.
Using artificial intelligence, the research team analyzed millions of tweets between 2011 and 2016 in order to determine whether or not there were any relationships between online hate speech and offline violence against minorities in 100 cities.
What they found was that cities with a higher rate of direct, targeted racist tweets were more likely to experience more real hate crimes related to race and ethnicity. The research team also identified key discriminatory terms and phrases most commonly used on social media, and more specifically, used in certain cities and areas.
"We found that more targeted, discriminatory tweets posted in a city related to a higher number of hate crimes," said lead author Rumi Chunara. "This trend across different types of cities (for example, urban, rural, large, and small) confirms the need to more specifically study how different types of discriminatory speech online may contribute to consequences in the physical world.”
The survey comes as the U.S. experiences a wave of violent crime. Last year the FBI reported that there was more than a 17 percent increase in hate crimes committed across America, NBC News noted. There were 7,175 bias crimes committed against 8,493 victims in 2018.
The survey could present useful methods that could help authorities identify vulnerable groups who are more likely to be victims of racial hate crimes and discrimination before they have been harmed.
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