‘Geography Of Hate’ Map Uses Twitter To Show Where The Haters Be

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Seems like we’ve been here before: “Where do all the haters live?” A new “geography of hate” map published by Floating Sheep shows us once again that Twitter can be used to, well, figure out where all the haters live.

Floating Sheep geo-tagged tweets sent out across the country in order to create the “geography of hate” map, which shows the most hateful areas in the country on a heat-map. The red areas show the areas of “most hate,” and son of a gun, the Deep South and the Midwest are the biggest hot spots. If that don’t put the pepper in the gumbo, I don’t know what to say.

For their geographical study, students from Humboldt State checked tweets for a negative, positive, or neutral connotation. The identified more than 150,000 hateful tweets, and then added up each negative tweet by county. They then compared that to the county’s total tweets, enabling them to identify areas with “disproportionately high amounts” of Twitter hate.

The two topics they looked for were racism and homophobia, so the study is a bit limited in that “hate” is limited to those two areas (when there are so many others like politics and religion to take advantage of!), but it’s still an interesting study, even if it does only tell us what we already know. How population figures into the research also isn’t clearly defined.

The authors also say that people living “in the blue” shouldn’t be too proud of themselves, pointing out that hateful tweets in some areas are widely distributed. They write, “when viewing the map at a broad scale, it’s best not to be covered with the blue smog of hate, as even the lower end of the scale includes the presence of hateful tweeting activity.”

They conclude:

“Ultimately, some of the slurs included in our analysis might not have particularly revealing spatial distributions. But, unfortunately, they show the significant persistence of hatred in the United States and the ways that the open platforms of social media have been adopted and appropriated to allow for these ideas to be propagated.”

Check out the “geography of hate” maps below courtesy of Floating Sheep, and let us know what you think of the study:

racism geography of hate homophobia

homophobia geography of hate

Author: Dusten Carlson

Dusten has written for web and print and currently spends his time working on his upcoming graphic novel. He is also almost 30 and still has all of his hair.


8 thoughts on “‘Geography Of Hate’ Map Uses Twitter To Show Where The Haters Be

  1. Interesting but I'd certainly like to see the same study with a more general "hate" than just racism and homophobia. It would also be interesting to see how certain tweets were categorized…

  2. So let's say someone tweeted a "racist" term, but it wasn't being directed at a person of color. Or maybe it was being used by a person of color in jest. Does that necessarily mean that the individual is racist? How about a term like redneck? Did its use fall w/in racist lingo? Wouldn't you have to check each and every tweet for context? Wish that we had more information about the data.

  3. This is a tweet that I just saw on Twitter: "Vote for us or the gays, women, Blacks & Hispanics will run everything. #GOP2016Slogans" The poster meant it as satire against the GOP, but my guess is that it would be used in the above "Hate Map" as a "hate" tweet. You couldn't possibly check every tweet for context. If I'm wrong, please explain. thank you

  4. That is a very good point Carma. I think the map is meant more to explain the perpetuation of hate. For example, a satirical statement like the one you mentioned most often leads to hate speech from people who take it serious or take offense to being mocked. The problem with social is that so many conversations in that sense turn into hate filled rants. Even a well intentioned outward facing message can lead to hate rhetoric. But yes I agree it is partially flawed.

  5. Would like to see data in this study normalized for population size. Also, there is so much satire out there you would have to filter out some sources.

  6. I was surprised and sad about the Bay Area but you make a great point. Thanks for that:)

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