[FoME] New report on hate speech in Ethiopia's social media

Christoph Dietz Christoph.Dietz at CAMECO.ORG
Mi Jun 1 13:23:13 CEST 2016

( http://pcmlp.socleg.ox.ac.uk/2016/05/mechachal-final-report-released/)

We are delighted to announce the launch of the final report of the
Mechachal project, one of first academic studies to contextually examine
how hate speech emerges and disseminates in social media.

Focusing on Ethiopia, and in collaboration with Addis Ababa University,
the research team examined thousands of comments made by Ethiopians on
Facebook during four months around the time of the country’s general
election. Hate speech’ –defined as statements to incite others to
discriminate or act against individuals or groups on grounds of their
ethnicity, nationality, religion or gender – was found in just 0.7% of
overall statements in the representative sample. The paper says the
findings may have wide implications for the many countries trying to
address growing concerns about the role played by social media in
promoting radicalisation or violence.

Ethiopia represented an exceptional case study because of its distinct
languages, which allowed the research team to gain a realistic sample of
the overall online debates focused on one country. The research team
analysed Facebook statements made by Ethiopians, both in their homeland
and abroad, in the run-up to and just after the general election on 24
May 2015. Fans or followers, rather than people with any real influence
online, were found to be mainly responsible for the violent or
aggressive speech that appeared on Facebook pages in the sample.

It appears these individuals use Facebook to vent their anger against
more powerful sections of society. Around 18% of total comments in the
sample were written by fans or followers compared with 11% of comments
made by highly influential speakers (the owners of web pages). One fifth
(21.8%) of hostile comments were grounded in political differences, only
slightly higher than the overall average of 21.4% of all conversations
containing hostile comments. Religion and ethnicity provoked fewer
hostile comments (10% and 14% of overall comments in sample

Access the full report on Academia.edu:

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