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Featured Research: Hate Speech in the Political Discourse on Social Media: Disparities Across Parties, Gender, and Ethnicity

The political discourse on social media is increasingly characterized by hate speech, which affects not only the reputation of individual politicians but also the functioning of society at large. In this work, we empirically analyze how the amount of hate speech in replies to posts from politicians on Twitter depends on personal characteristics, such as their party affiliation, gender, and ethnicity. We find that tweets are particularly likely to receive hate speech in replies if they are authored by (i) persons of color from the Democratic party, (ii) white Republicans, and (iii) women. Furthermore, our analysis reveals that more negative sentiment (in the source tweet) is associated with more hate speech (in replies). However, the association varies across parties: negative sentiment attracts more hate speech for Democrats (vs. Republicans). Altogether, our empirical findings imply significant differences in how politicians are treated on social media depending on their party affiliation, gender, and ethnicity.

Paper at WWW