Monday, May 20, 2013

U.S. students create 'hate map' of bigoted tweets

An interactive map released this week by U.S. geography students shows what regions in America originate the highest number of racist and homophobic posts on Twitter.

The number of tweets with hateful sentiments in a certain area is expressed in a range of colours from light blue to bright red, a style known as a heat map. In this case, the students have called it a "hate map."

Students at Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif., incorporated data from 150,000 tweets, focusing on 10 hateful words, as part of a larger project called "Geography of Hate."

The students read each tweet individually to make sure the content was indeed an expression of hatred, and not some other use of the key words investigated.

Besides words commonly used as insults against minorities and homosexuals, the researchers included the word "cripple" when used as an invective.

The data was then normalized for population density, meaning the map isn't just showing where the most people are, but where the most hateful tweets are coming from per capita.