More hate speech on Twitter than on Facebook in Pakistan: study

Hurling abuses is a common hate speech trait mostly found in PTI and PML-N supporters

Our Correspondent July 22, 2018
Hurling abuses is a common hate speech trait mostly found in PTI and PML-N supporters. PHOTO: INP/FILE

LAHORE: A research study shows hate speech is more prevalent on Twitter despite the social media platform having only 3.5 million users as compared to 32 million Facebook users in Pakistan.

These were findings of a study called ‘Electoral Hate-Speech on Social Media in Pakistan', released on Sunday.

It was part of youth development organisation Bargad's project called "Youth Actions for Peaceful Elections". The project trained 200 students from 10 universities of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

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It explored how social media was enabling discourses of hate speech and looked at how words were used as tools for election campaigning by candidates, supporters and influencers.

According to the results of the study, photos and videos were the most popular sources of hate speech.

“Allegations and character assassination are the most widespread forms of hate speech, followed by religious intolerance and sexism. A lot of hate speech is directed towards sexism, thus reflecting the gender imbalance. In the online space, women were frequently attacked during the monitoring period.”

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The use of ‘colourful language’ was most prevalent among supporters of PTI and PML-N against each other, says the study. The study validates the notion that hate speech around election time is organised by individuals who are networked into groups online.

The study recommends implementation of laws, media regulation, code of conduct, awareness campaigns and material against hate speech in the curriculum of schools as counter measures.


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