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Fanning the Flames of Hate: Social Media and Hate Crime

Author

Listed:
  • Müller, Karsten

    (University of Warwick)

  • Schwarz, Carlo

    (University of Warwick)

Abstract

This paper investigates the link between social media and hate crime using Facebook data. We study the case of Germany, where the recently emerged right-wing party Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD) has developed a major social media presence. We show that right-wing anti-refugee sentiment on Facebook predicts violent crimes against refugees in otherwise similar municipalities with higher social media usage. To further establish causality, we exploit exogenous variation in major internet and Facebook outages, which fully undo the correlation between social media and hate crime. We further find that the effect decreases with distracting news events; increases with user network interactions; and does not hold for posts unrelated to refugees. Our results suggest that social media can act as a propagation mechanism between online hate speech and real-life violent crime.Keywords: social media, hate crime, minorities, Germany, AfD JEL Classification: D74, J15, Z10, D72, O35, N32, N34.

Suggested Citation

  • Müller, Karsten & Schwarz, Carlo, 2018. "Fanning the Flames of Hate: Social Media and Hate Crime," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 373, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cge:wacage:373
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    File URL: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/centres/cage/manage/publications/373-2018_schwarz.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Endrich, Marek & Michel, Stephan, 2018. "The good tourist, the bad refugee and the ugly German: Xenophobic activities and tourism," ILE Working Paper Series 16, University of Hamburg, Institute of Law and Economics.
    2. Andrea Geraci & Mattia Nardotto & Tommaso Reggiani & Fabio Sabatini, 2018. "Broadband Internet and Social Capital," MUNI ECON Working Papers 2018-01, Masaryk University, revised Dec 2018.
    3. Entorf, Horst & Lange, Martin, 2019. "Refugees Welcome? Understanding the Regional Heterogeneity of Anti-Foreigner Hate Crimes in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 12229, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • O35 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Social Innovation
    • N32 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-

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