Fanning the Flames of Hate: Social Media and Hate Crime

Citation data:

SSRN Electronic Journal

Publication Year:
2018
Usage 36645
Abstract Views 30156
Downloads 6489
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References 1
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SSRN
SSRN Id:
3125583; 3082972
DOI:
10.2139/ssrn.3082972
Author(s):
Karsten MMller; Carlo Schwarz
Publisher(s):
Elsevier BV
Tags:
Social Media; Hate Crime; Minorities; Germany; AfD
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article description
This paper investigates the link between social media and hate crime using hand-collected data from Facebook. We study the case of Germany, where the recently emerged right-wing party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) has developed a major social media presence. Using a Bartik-type empirical strategy, we show that right-wing anti-refugee sentiment on Facebook predicts violent crimes against refugees in otherwise similar municipalities with higher social media usage. To establish causality, we further exploit exogenous variation in major internet and Facebook outages, which fully undo the correlation between social media and hate crime. We further find that the effect decreases with distracting news events; increases with user network interactions; and does not hold for posts unrelated to refugees. Our results suggest that social media can act as a propagation mechanism between online hate speech and real-life incidents.