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Fanning the Flames of Hate: Social Media and Hate Crime

Date & Time:
16:00 - 17:30,
Wednesday 24 October, 2018


The presentation will focus on my joint research with Karsten Müller that investigates the link between social media and hate crime using Facebook data.

We study the case of Germany, where the recently emerged right-wing party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) has developed a major social media presence. We show that right-wing anti-refugee sentiment on Facebook predicts violent crimes against refugees in municipalities with higher social media usage. To establish causality, we exploit exogenous variation in major internet and Facebook outages, which fully undo the correlation between social media and hate crime.

In another study, we find suggestive evidence that a similar mechanism might be at work in the US during the presidential campaign of Donald Trump. We show that the rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes since Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has been concentrated in counties with high Twitter usage. In the time series, Trump’s Tweets on Islam-related topics are highly correlated with anti-Muslim hate crime after, but not before his presidential campaign, and are uncorrelated with other hate crimes.

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  • Name: Carlo Schwarz
  • Affiliation: University of Warwick
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  • Bio: Carlo Schwarz is a PhD student at the University of Warwick. His research interests are in the field of applied microeconomics and political economy, with a focus on text analysis and machine learning. After graduating from the University of Mannheim, Carlo joined the 2+4 MRes/PhD program at the University of Warwick. His recent research focused on the adverse effects of social media, in particular the transmission of hateful sentiment against minorities.