Too much traction

It’s the age of hate speech.

More than 50,000 abusive and offensive tweets were sent celebrating Labour MP Jo Cox’s murder and lauding her killer, Thomas Mair, as a “hero” or “patriot” in the month following her death, prompting calls for the government to do more to tackle hate speech online.

According to researchers on the social media site, the tweets were sent from at least 25,000 individuals and have been interpreted by hate crime campaigners as a sign of an emboldened extreme rightwing support base.

And that was before the election of Trump and his elevation of Stephen Bannon and Breitbart.

Academics examined more than 53,000 tweets sent over the month after the MP’s murder and found that among the top 20 words used to describe Mair and Jo Cox were the terms “hero”, “patriot”, “white power”, “rapists” and “traitor”.

The findings come ahead of a government report into integration that claims the concept has broadly failed in the UK and that extremists from both the far right and Islamists have been allowed to gain too much traction.

There’s that confusion again – the idea that Islamists are separate from the far right. Islamists are very far right. Theocracy is about as far right as it’s possible to get.

The report into cyber hate speech linked to the murder of Cox, authored by Imran Awan of Birmingham City University, and Irene Zempi of Nottingham Trent University, to be published on Monday, uncovered several key themes.

According to the report’s authors, online hate speech and offences committed on the street were linked with online perpetrators emboldened by “trigger” events like the EU referendum.

People who spend hours every day working themselves into a froth of hatred are going to end up likely to do more than type words on Twitter and Facebook.


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