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Hate speech on Facebook

Titel / Titel:

Hate speech on Facebook

Author / Autor

Ciftci, T., Gashi, L., Hoffmann, R., Bahr, D., Ilhan, A., & Fietkiewicz, K. J.


Source / Quelle

A. Skaržauskienė, & N. Gudelienė (Eds.), ECSM 2017 Proceedings of the 4th European Conference on Social Media Research (pp. 425-433). Sonning Common, UK: Academia Conferences and Publishing International.

Language / Sprache

English / Englisch

Hate speech on Facebook


Newspapers are increasingly posting news reports on social networking sites like Facebook. In this way, users can immediately read what happened and exchange their opinions in the comment section of the posts. In the wake of the refugee crisis in Europe and especially after the incidents on New Year’s Eve 2015 in Cologne, the attitude towards refugees became more and more negative in Germany. Many users shared their opinions by commenting the news journals’ posts on Facebook and many of these comments can be considered a hate speech, or since occurring on the web, cyber hate. The problem of cyber hate or hate speech spreading on Facebook is not new. Our paper considers the questions: How do higher educated German Facebook users classify cyber hate? How do they react to it? Which actions would they take to either support or oppose hateful comments? Are there gender dependent differences in users’ attitude towards cyber hate? To answer these questions, we created an online questionnaire. It includes a news post reporting the incidents on New Year’s Eve in Cologne with two corresponding comments to which the participants had to answer questions. The first comment was classified as hate speech. We formulated questions about these comments and what action would the users potentially take when seeing such posts online. The outcomes of the study show that over 90% of the participants perceive the first comment as cyber hate; about 60% of all participants classified the second comment as cyber hate as well. Among the experienced emotions there are some significant differences between female and male respondents. The investigation revealed that the most occurring emotional responses when reading the comments are anger, disgust and frustration. The main reason for re-commenting    the comment is because the comment contradicts the participant’s opinion. Only a small share of the users would like the comments, whereas the second comment would get more likes than the first one. More than half of the participants would report the first comment, while the second comment would be reported by fewer users.