Researchers map hate words on Twitter

10:04 AM, May 15, 2013   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +
(Courtesy Twitter)

ATLANTA -- Where do the most hateful social media comments come from?

A group of university researchers calling themselves Floating Sheep mapped the geography of hate. From June 2012 to April 2013, they searched Twitter for specific hate words -- words that can't be printed here or said on TV.

A team of students tracked tweets categorized as homophobic, racist or disability. The Southeast doesn't look good.

Remember the YouTube video "United Breaks Guitars?" The music video has more than 13 million hits and spawned a tidal wave of other negative comments about the airline. It's a cluster effect -- hate works that way.

So should Atlanta, the City Too Busy to Hate, be worried about the geography of hate?

Maybe not. Most hate tweets in Georgia are in rural areas. It takes a fewer number of hate tweets to throw off the results.

Still, it's disturbing that words not fit for the public can flourish online.

There's a strange flip side -- research shows people are more likely to share really negative and really positive things. There isn't much in the middle. So the same power that paints the geography of hate could also fuel something good.

Most Watched Videos