How Many Racial Slurs Are Used on Twitter?

Posted by on Feb 18, 2014

 

How many derogatory, downright obscene and “ratchet” terms do you use on Twitter each day?  According to a recent study by United Kingdom’s Think Tank Demo, a whopping 10,000 tweets contain a racist slur; that calculates to about 416 tweets each hour. Yikes.

Twitter has an average of 58 million tweets per day and out of 600 million active users, that is A LOT of insensitivity going around.

“Anywhere between 47.5 percent and 70 percent were ‘non-derogatory’ or used to ‘express in-group solidarity,’” NBC News reported.

“That still leaves the tricky question of how many tweets would be considered, by most people, as racist. A program can’t parse the racist subtext of a tweet and human analysts have different ideas of what counts as racism,” the new source points out. “Ultimately, the study found that one in 55,000 tweets (around 0.000018 percent) was indicative of racial prejudice. That includes up to 10 percent of the tweets that were considered “casual” racial slurs — meaning they weren’t explicitly racist, but would probably be considered offensive by some people — and the estimated 100 tweets a day that threatened violence.”

In response, the report’s author said, “Even though racist, religious and ethnic slurs tend to be used in a non-derogatory way on Twitter, this does not mean that hate speech is not being used on this platform.”

“Language does not require the use of slurs in order to be hateful,” he concluded.

If this isn’t a sign that we need to do better, we don’t know what is.

Check out the entire study here.

 

 

 

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