Fanning the Flames of Hate: Social Media and Hate Crime
84 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2017 Last revised: 8 Jun 2020
Date Written: June 5, 2020
This paper investigates the link between social media and hate crime. We show that anti-refugee sentiment on Facebook predicts crimes against refugees in otherwise similar municipalities with higher social media usage. To establish causality, we exploit exogenous variation in the timing of major Facebook and internet outages. Consistent with a role for "echo chambers", we find that right-wing social media posts contain narrower and more loaded content than news reports. Our results suggest that social media can act as a propagation mechanism for violent crimes by enabling the spread of extreme viewpoints.
Keywords: social media, hate crime, minorities, Germany, AfD
JEL Classification: D74, J15, Z10, D72, O35
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