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Anti-Asian hate on Twitter has increased during the pandemic – AsAmNews

Anti-Asian hate on Twitter has increased during the pandemic – AsAmNews

According to a recent study, anti-Asian hate language increased significantly in 2020 on Twitter.

Researchers at the University of Utah analyzed millions of tweets from late 2019 to early 2020 and found a spike in anti-Asian hate on Twitter early in the pandemic.

“In American culture, we see Asians as the model minority, don’t we? They tend to do well academically and earn money, or at least that’s our perception,” said University of Utah professor and study co-author Richard Medina. , in an interview with At the U. “Often, Asians in America are overlooked as targets of hate speech or hate crimes. But COVID-19 has brought that into sharp focus.

The rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans early in the pandemic prompted researchers to investigate.

“Once the hate is in place, then the hate persists,” lead study author Alexander Hohl told At the U. We think this warrants a research perspective.

Researchers purchased 4,234,694 geotagged tweets on Twitter that were posted between November 2019 and May 2020, classifying them as hateful or non-hateful based on the presence of keywords related to anti-Asian hate (“kunglu”, “Wuhanvirus”, etc.) and place them on a map.

From November 2019 to January 2020, hate levels were low; 0-0.1% of daily tweets were hateful, according to the University of Utah study. However, anti-Asian hate language increased significantly between January and March 2020. Two peaks have been identified: the first in late January 2020, when COVID first arrived in the United States, and the second in mid- March, after President Donald Trump tweeted about the “Wuhan flu” and the “Chinese virus”. The analysis is consistent with results of a 2021 study demonstrating that Trump’s ‘Chinese virus’ tweet helped fuel anti-Asian hate on Twitter. Over time, the volume of anti-Asian tweets declined but remained higher than before the pandemic.

Messages blaming China for COVID-19 seemed to spread through public opinion, leading to increased discrimination. Discovery of the Stop AAPI Hate initiative that there were over 9,000 hate incidents in the first year of COVID.

“We’re working right now on kind of linking the hate on social media towards the Asian American community to actual acts of hate crime on the ground,” Hohl told Fox 13. “You inject hate into social media, it doesn’t completely go away.”

The researchers identified 15 clusters as geographic regions where the number of anti-Asian hate tweets was statistically higher than expected. The largest cluster was in Ross County, Ohio, where the proportion of hate tweets was about 300 times higher than the rest of the country.

There were no clear patterns of anti-Asian hatred along urban and rural or geographic gradients, but the authors plan to do further analysis, which may uncover demographic and socioeconomic factors to help explain the differences. cluster locations.

“What struck me, for example, is that the Seattle area isn’t as visible on the map, even though we discovered COVID-19 in the United States near Seattle,” Hohl said. .

This study is the first to put anti-Asian hate tweets on a map, and the authors hope this method will guide officials in allocating resources to the response to pandemic racism as a public health threat. Ultimately, the authors want their method to become a public health tool to protect marginalized communities from racist hate crimes.

“The hope is that we can use hate on social media as a predictor of hate on the streets to use as an alarm for communities and public health officials to get the help and protection they need. need,” Medina said. At the U.

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