Map of hateful tweets shows hotspots are mostly in eastern half of U.S.

May 17, 2013 by Robert A. Cronkleton, The Kansas City Star

Tweets containing hateful words are coming in larger proportions from people living in the eastern half of the United States, according to a new map that tracked hate speech on Twitter.

"How much hate people are broadcasting online is a little shocking and upsetting," said Monica Stephens, assistant professor of geography at Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif.

The map is based on that were scanned for hate words that are homophobic, racist or demeaning to people with disabilities.

"I think the words themselves are shocking when you realize how much volume there is," Stephens added. "We were dealing with over 150,000 times that these words were used in slightly under 10 months."

The map uses data from the DOLLY Project at the University of Kentucky, which provides an archive of tweets that have been tagged with a location. The tweets were from June 2012 to April 2013.

Stephens had the help of three geography students - Amelia Egle, a junior; Miles Ross, a senior; and Matt Eiben, a graduate student - to analyze the tweets and build the map.

The students read them to determine whether they were hateful, positive or neutral.

"It was hard sometimes to make that decision," Egle said. "There were definitely some racist and shocking statements that you aren't expecting at first."

Growing up in California, Ross said he heard racism a lot, but mostly in closed circles.

"It was surprising they would actually say these words to begin with and also have a spacial location attached to it," he said.

Geotagged tweets are a small percentage of total traffic. People have to opt in to provide the geographic location from where they are tweeting. But those that are geotagged provide a good representation of what is being tweeted, Johnson said.

Eiben joined the project after Egle and Ross had been working on it for several months to help out with the technical end and creating the of the data.

He said steps were taken to protect the privacy of people who tweeted the hateful speech.

The map's result was based on how often people used Twitter in that particular location. A ratio was created by county to see what proportion of tweets were hateful, Stephens said.

"People may feel their communities are misrepresented, but these are parts of the community that they may not be interacting with and may not see," she said. "We hope that this is an impetus for a conversation with members of a community about using these words and not supporting these groups."

Those upset with how the maps looks can help change it by geocoding their own tweets, which would help improve the ratio of overall tweets to those with hate words in them, Stephens said.

"Stop tweeting hate," Stephens said. "Start tweeting things that are more benign, that mention how much support there is and resources there are in the community for individuals. If Twitter had more of that and a little less negative sentiment, that would change it."

She said she hopes the map encourages people to reach out and start conversations with their neighbors and others who are different from themselves.

"We hope that people are offended by this language," Stephens said. "We hope people are shocked by it."

Explore further: Online piracy thrives in Internet cloud: study (Update)

More information: TO VIEW THE MAP: users.humboldt.edu/mstephens/hate/hate_map.html

2.3 /5 (12 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Germans top table of happiest tweets

Apr 05, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- The country rated highest on the map which rated words and icons used to describe happiness on social network site Twitter.

Recommended for you

Facebook dressed down over 'real names' policy

Sep 17, 2014

Facebook says it temporarily restored hundreds of deleted profiles of self-described drag queens and others, but declined to change a policy requiring account holders to use their real names rather than drag names such as ...

Yelp to pay US fine for child privacy violation

Sep 17, 2014

Online ratings operator Yelp agreed to pay $450,000 to settle US charges that it illegally collected data on children, in violation of privacy laws, officials said Wednesday.

User comments : 44

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

cantdrive85
2.4 / 5 (12) May 17, 2013
What a surprise the hateful reside in the miserable half of the country.
Egleton
2.3 / 5 (9) May 17, 2013
Did these pointy heads include the hate speech on Psysorg?
VENDItardE
1.7 / 5 (12) May 17, 2013
and the liberal half....surprise,surprise,surprise
DavidHumus
3.7 / 5 (6) May 17, 2013
Yes - if you actually look at the map, you'll see, for instance, the preponderance of racist tweets emanating from such liberal bastions as Indiana, Iowa, Virginia, Missouri, and Texas.
VendicarE
2.2 / 5 (9) May 17, 2013

"miserable half of the country" - CantDriveTooStupid

It is hardly surprising that the hate speech comes mostly from the more heavily populated east side of the U.S.

What is surprising is that the amount of hate speech coming from Liberal California is very small even though it's population size is large.

This is also the case for the Liberal east coast states around and including New York.

From the map presented, it is clear that once corrected for population density, the Southern Republican states come out as the most racist, homophobic, etc.

ValeriaT
1.7 / 5 (6) May 17, 2013
IMO USA map follows the political compass rather faithfully: the south of USA is rightwing (Texas), the north is leftist (Canada), the east coast is authoritative, the west cost is more liberal (homosexuals in San Francisco).
kochevnik
2.3 / 5 (3) May 17, 2013
Odd about California since the state was to be split in two: a southern slave state and a 'free' north state. Yet Southern California comes out ahead with less hate. Perhaps the divide is not merely along former slave states, but along a deeper and darker American psychosis. Or perhaps the slavemaster mentality itself is not a cause of hate, but the very act of slavery causes permanent gene damage
dogbert
2 / 5 (8) May 17, 2013
The study uses a very short list of words which are assumed to be hateful. How was that list selected? Why were words of a similar nature rejected from the list?

'Homophobic' is a hateful term describing a non-existent condition. Every use of the term homophobic is hateful, yet the study uses the word as if it were totally acceptable and the article itself uses the term as if it were acceptable.

Is it surprising that most hateful people are located far away from the university doing the study?

hlots11
3 / 5 (2) May 18, 2013
It's a wireless coverage map. That's it. People tweet from their smartphones, so it's not really surprising.
cantdrive85
1.9 / 5 (9) May 18, 2013
"miserable half of the country" - CantDriveTooStupid


And Vendi is obviously from the right side of the map.
alfie_null
4.2 / 5 (5) May 18, 2013
IMO USA map follows the http:// rather faithfully: the south of USA is rightwing (Texas), the north is leftist (Canada), the east coast is authoritative, the west cost is more liberal (homosexuals in San Francisco).

Gays live all over the country. That you don't see is maybe they're just more afraid to be open. See a possible correlation?
Tom327Cat
3.7 / 5 (3) May 18, 2013
The list of possible hate speech types seems substantially limited, the actual numbers seem low (also obfuscated, how many messages out of the 150,000 tweets were hateful?) Zooming in to state level shows random localized hot spots, few and far between.
You want to start a conversation? How about, "Why can't you do better science?"
dogbert
2 / 5 (8) May 18, 2013
The list of possible hate speech types seems substantially limited ...


And worse, deliberately selective. For example, four words which may be considered derogatory toward single gender sexual behaviors and no words which may be considered derogatory toward heterosexual behaviors -- except the over use of the word homophobic by the study authors without any acknowledgement that they are being hateful with the use of that word.

The study seems at best a gay/lesbian promotion with anti-Caucasian/anti-bible overtones.
kochevnik
2.6 / 5 (5) May 19, 2013
the over use of the word homophobic by the study authors without any acknowledgement that they are being hateful with the use of that word.
Uh no they're not. Did you fail second grade? Work on those reading skills
The study seems at best a gay/lesbian promotion with anti-Caucasian/anti-bible overtones.
Wow Dogbert I didn't know you are from the Caucasus. Are you a Georgian mafia greaseball?
Neinsense99
1.8 / 5 (5) May 19, 2013
IMO USA map follows the http:// rather faithfully: the south of USA is rightwing (Texas), the north is leftist (Canada), the east coast is authoritative, the west cost is more liberal (homosexuals in San Francisco).

So now Canada is part of the USA?
dogbert
2 / 5 (8) May 19, 2013
kochevnik,

Uh no they're not. Did you fail second grade? Work on those reading skills


Did you? What does homophobic mean? Technically is means 'fear of man' but is used to mean 'fear of homosexuals'. No one is afraid of homosexuals. That phobia does not exist.

The term is used only for hateful purposes. Anyone who does not find single gender sexual behaviors to be a good choice is labeled a homophobe. That is to say, if you disagree with me on homosexuality, you are a hateful person.

The term is itself hateful and use of it is hateful. The authors of the so called study failed to even see their own use of hateful expressions or if they did, they chose to ignore it.

kochevnik
2 / 5 (4) May 19, 2013
@dogbert The term is used only for hateful purposes. Anyone who does not find single gender sexual behaviors to be a good choice is labeled a homophobe. That is to say, if you disagree with me on homosexuality, you are a hateful person.

The term is itself hateful and use of it is hateful. The authors of the so called study failed to even see their own use of hateful expressions or if they did, they chose to ignore it.

Among other things it denotes a person who has not come out yet, and experiences pent up sexual frustration as blind rage that is taken out upon the unsuspecting at random. By the length of your reply, I suspect you need a MAN-DATE
kochevnik
2.3 / 5 (3) May 19, 2013
Biblical gay porn:

"Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knot to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. Saul took him that day, and would not let him go home to his father's house anymore. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan took off the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, even his sword and his bow and his belt."

"...fell on his face to the ground, and bowed down three times. And they kissed one another; and they wept together, but David more so. Then Jonathan said to David, 'Go in peace, since we have both sworn in the name of the LORD, saying, 'May the LORD be between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants, forever.' So he arose and departed, and Jonathan went into the city."

"I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; you have been very pleasant to me; your love to me was wonderful, surpassing the love of women."
dogbert
1.7 / 5 (6) May 19, 2013
kochevnik,

Despite your flippant refusal to recognize that the use of the word 'homophobe' is hateful, the authors of this so called study on the use of hateful terminology use that hateful terminology and are not ashamed of being hateful.

It is more an example of hypocrisy than a study of hate by geographical location.
kochevnik
2 / 5 (4) May 19, 2013
kochevnik,

Despite your flippant refusal to recognize that the use of the word 'homophobe' is hateful, the authors of this so called study on the use of hateful terminology use that hateful terminology and are not ashamed of being hateful.

It is more an example of hypocrisy than a study of hate by geographical location.
Indeed welcome to the upside-down conservaturd world where the word homophobe is an expression of rage and hatred, while actual rage and hatred against gays is serving god.

I am not gay which means that not only do I not chase men, but neither do I care what they do in their bedrooms. Since you're not that way, it means YOU have issues. You are an outlier

Dogbert why aren't you out gay bashing in Tbilisi, Georgia with your fellow greaseballs? It's happening right now don't be left out of the lovefest!
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) May 19, 2013
"Stop tweeting hate," Stephens said. "Start tweeting things that are more benign"

Unfortunately not talking about it doesn't make the mindset go away.

Better to have it out on twitter where everyone can realize that there is a (fundamental) problem.
dogbert
2.1 / 5 (7) May 19, 2013
I am not gay which means that not only do I not chase men, but neither do I care what they do in their bedrooms.


Neither am I.

Since you're not that way, it means YOU have issues


Nope. Wrong again. You hate anyone who does not see things the way you do.

I don't hate people who engage single gender behaviors. But you hate people who note that aberrant behaviors are aberrant.

The liberal is always full of hate. The word homophobe was born of that hate.

You should try to let go of the hate kochevnik.
kochevnik
2.3 / 5 (3) May 19, 2013
I am not gay which means that not only do I not chase men, but neither do I care what they do in their bedrooms.


Neither am I.
I rather doubt your claim. Actually, your homophobic obsession with gays means you are six times more likely to yourself be gay. Read the study on this same site, dogbert. Gay is not aberrant, no more than children or Eskimos. Homosexuality is beneficial to the species, as it is a conserved orientation since the dawn of animals. It's in you bye-bull: a fact which you conveniently ignored in your christopathic cherry-picking lunacy.
dogbert
2.1 / 5 (7) May 19, 2013
kochevnik,

Now the hate turns to name calling.

Try sometimes to operate outside the socialist handbook. You might like thinking for yourself.

Actually, your homophobic obsession with gays means you are six times more likely to yourself be gay.


Behaviors are not something you are, they are something you do. Behaviors are always choices.
kochevnik
2.3 / 5 (3) May 19, 2013
kochevnik,

Now the hate turns to name calling.
I don't know the hate to which you refer, apart from your own focused upon a group who are born a particular way. Your logic is no different than the colonialist Southern slavemaster, persecuting some due to melanin pigment. And indeed some names are accurate and specialists far better trained than yourself employ them. Such words include sociopath, neurotic and yes, homophobic

I
Actually, your homophobic obsession with gays means you are six times more likely to yourself be gay.
Behaviors are not something you are, they are something you do. Behaviors are always choices.
False. Studies prove that behavior influences attitude and over time determines it. You should get to know your gay side instead of repressing it with chrostofascism and hate
dogbert
2 / 5 (8) May 19, 2013
kochevnik,

You cannot make a single comment without name calling and hate.

Go ahead. Be consumed with your hatred.
kochevnik
2 / 5 (4) May 19, 2013
kochevnik,

You cannot make a single comment without name calling and hate.

Go ahead. Be consumed with your hatred.
Tolerating intolerance isn't tolerance. Get professional help and stop worshiping dead Jews bleeding and hanging from walls. That's so disturbing and unhealthy
dogbert
2 / 5 (8) May 19, 2013
kochevnik,

Tolerating intolerance isn't tolerance. Get professional help and stop worshiping dead Jews bleeding and hanging from walls. That's so disturbing and unhealthy


Projecting your intolerance on other people is what is unhealthy and what fuels your hatred.

Continue with your hatred, however. You will anyway.
kochevnik
2 / 5 (4) May 19, 2013
kochevnik,

Tolerating intolerance isn't tolerance. Get professional help and stop worshiping dead Jews bleeding and hanging from walls. That's so disturbing and unhealthy


Projecting your intolerance on other people is what is unhealthy and what fuels your hatred.
Yes so the question follows: Why do you hate gays, dogbert? Your own bye-bull has homoerotic stories and was published by a flaming homosexual, King James
FainAvis
3 / 5 (2) May 19, 2013
dogbert: You need to take a refresher course in reading comprehension.
dogbert
2.1 / 5 (7) May 20, 2013
kochevnik,

Why do you keep implying or stating that I hate gays? I do not and have never expressed hatred toward gays or lesbians.

Your own hatred is apparent in everything you say. Not content with name calling and innuendo, you have to add your hatred of God into your discourse. You must be a very miserable person.

kochevnik
2 / 5 (4) May 20, 2013
kochevnik,

Why do you keep implying or stating that I hate gays? I do not and have never expressed hatred toward gays or lesbians.

Your own hatred is apparent in everything you say. Not content with name calling and innuendo, you have to add your hatred of God into your discourse. You must be a very miserable person.

Actually a study shows that communities of atheists are predominantly more peaceful and have the lowest crime. Try again
extremity
3 / 5 (2) May 20, 2013
The racist terms are very region specific and worth the visualization of the data. But, the overall map with everything combined is just as most other people are saying and looks like a population density map. Please see the following link of a typical population density map of the US. http://www.mapofu...-map.htm or type it in google...
geokstr
2.1 / 5 (7) May 20, 2013
[qActually a study shows that communities of atheists are predominantly more peaceful and have the lowest crime. Try again

Absolutely, as proven time and again by atheists like Uncle Joe, the Chairman, Mr Pol, the various Kims, Ho, Hugo, the Castros, Che, Mr Mugabe. Someone should tell those 100,000,000 poor dead bastards that their rulers, being atheists, were actually very peaceful to them despite their deaths.
kochevnik
2.3 / 5 (3) May 20, 2013
Absolutely, as proven time and again by atheists like Uncle Joe, the Chairman, Mr Pol, the various Kims, Ho, Hugo, the Castros, Che, Mr Mugabe. Someone should tell those 100,000,000 poor dead bastards that their rulers, being atheists, were actually very peaceful to them despite their deaths.
Atheist mere describes someone who doesn't believe in your particular imaginary sky fairy. It's no more meaningful a description than "non-asian"

Besides the preponderance of atheists you list above are not such. Most have Jesuit educations and upbringing
geokstr
2.3 / 5 (9) May 20, 2013
Absolutely, as proven time and again by atheists like Uncle Joe, the Chairman, Mr Pol, the various Kims, Ho, Hugo, the Castros, Che, Mr Mugabe. Someone should tell those 100,000,000 poor dead bastards that their rulers, being atheists, were actually very peaceful to them despite their deaths.
Atheist mere describes someone who doesn't believe in your particular imaginary sky fairy. It's no more meaningful a description than "non-asian"

Besides the preponderance of atheists you list above are not such. Most have Jesuit educations and upbringing

Right. They were all Roman Catholics in atheist drag. Do you even realize how ridiculous that is? They were all self-identified communists, followers of Marx, and Marxism is specifically atheist. Anything to deflect and distract from your own guilt and project it on your enemies.

I'm a lifelong atheist, but I'm honest enough to know who the mass murderers are in history.
ryggesogn2
1.8 / 5 (5) May 20, 2013
kochevnik,

Why do you keep implying or stating that I hate gays? I do not and have never expressed hatred toward gays or lesbians.

Your own hatred is apparent in everything you say. Not content with name calling and innuendo, you have to add your hatred of God into your discourse. You must be a very miserable person.

Actually a study shows that communities of atheists are predominantly more peaceful and have the lowest crime. Try again

Source?
kochevnik
2.3 / 5 (3) May 20, 2013
Source?
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/our-humanity-naturally/201103/misinformation-and-facts-about-secularism-and-religion
kochevnik
2.3 / 5 (3) May 20, 2013
Right. They were all Roman Catholics in atheist drag. Do you even realize how ridiculous that is? They were all self-identified communists, followers of Marx, and Marxism is specifically atheist. Anything to deflect and distract from your own guilt and project it on your enemies.

I'm a lifelong atheist, but I'm honest enough to know who the mass murderers are in history.
Actually communism was invented by the Jesuits in Paraguay as a secular model of their austere lifestyle imposed upon priests and nuns. Your claim of no connection contradicts history, which as readers here know is one of your defining characteristics
YSLGuru
5 / 5 (3) May 21, 2013
California is soo low because the majority of its citizens which includes illegals are eitehr unlikley to use new tech like twitter or if they do use twitter then they are tweeting in some langauge other then english and I'll bet the study was limited to english tweets only.
ryggesogn2
1.8 / 5 (5) May 21, 2013
Source?
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/our-humanity-naturally/201103/misinformation-and-facts-about-secularism-and-religion

Seems like most of the studies were accomplished at the 100,000 foot level, aggregate country data for example comparing 'secular' nations with 'religious' nations, not secular individuals with those of faith.
This is a related study based upon a more in depth look:
"In Who Really Cares, he demonstrates conclusively that conservatives really are compassionate—far more compassionate than their liberal foes. Strong families, church attendance, earned income (as opposed to state-subsidized income), and the belief that individuals, not government, offer the best solution to social ills—all of these factors determine how likely one is to give."
http://www.aei.or...y-cares/
ryggesogn2
1.8 / 5 (5) May 21, 2013
Atheism would demand its followers to call this girl a liar:
"Girl, 7, writes book about going to Heaven, surviving tornado"
http://myfox8.com...-heaven/

How courageous will atheists be against Islam?

"Islam Rising, Christianity Declining in United Kingdom"
http://www.breitb...Flourish
kochevnik
3 / 5 (2) May 21, 2013
Source?
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/our-humanity-naturally/201103/misinformation-and-facts-about-secularism-and-religion
Seems like most of the studies were accomplished at the 100,000 foot level, aggregate country data for example comparing 'secular' nations with 'religious' nations, not secular individuals with those of faith.
Same thing
California is soo low because the majority of its citizens which includes illegals are eitehr unlikley to use new tech like twitter or if they do use twitter then they are tweeting in some langauge other then english and I'll bet the study was limited to english tweets only.
Most people here prone to use mobile phones will communicate in English as most of their friends will speak English or another language
ryggesogn2
1.8 / 5 (5) May 21, 2013
Source?
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/our-humanity-naturally/201103/misinformation-and-facts-about-secularism-and-religion
Seems like most of the studies were accomplished at the 100,000 foot level, aggregate country data for example comparing 'secular' nations with 'religious' nations, not secular individuals with those of faith.
Same thing


How socialist of you!