The wave of criticisms that triggered the boycott of advertisers is likely to cause tens of billions of dollars in damage to the social network. Now, a new study claims the company's founder is not doing enough to fight extremism, showing that the network promotes hate speech and encourages social polarization

Facebook is currently facing a boycott of advertisers, at the center of a wave of criticism designed to urge the company to block hate and incitement. A new study by researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of North Carolina reveals how Facebook is increasing the hostility of social network users.

"Research on the dissemination of hate speech on Facebook shows similar patterns of gradual normalization of hate discourse," says Dr. Anat Ben-David of the Department of Sociology of Political Science and Communication, the Open University.

She said that "Facebook's community rules seem to prohibit hate speech, but when you look at common discourse practices you find that users learn to use discourse that doesn't violate the platform's community rules, but has enough context or clue to be interpreted as hate speech."

The study was conducted by PhD student Tal Orian Harel, Professor Yifat Maoz of the Department of Communication and Journalism at the Hebrew University and Doctor Jessica Katz Jameson of the Department of Communication at the University of North Carolina in the United States. The researchers looked at the responses to posts posted on the Shadow Facebook page in 2017 to understand how hostility in social networks between the political groups in the country, on the right and on the left of the political map, hostility that reached a peak and made the relationship between the groups extremely difficult to mediate.

The centerpiece of the study was not the image of the "shadow" or the posts he published, but only the comments written by the page's followers. The researchers chose to focus specifically on Shadow's Facebook page in 2017, since it was first defined as the leading online platform for hate speech in Israel, according to the Berl Katznelson Foundation's hate report that monitors the Hebrew-language hate wave.

In addition, the researchers stated in their article that they decided to check the page within that time span because "the page is ranked in the list of the 20 most interactive Facebook pages in Israel, in terms of followers' involvement."

Researchers' responses were written by followers of "The Shadow" over two periods - between April 14 and 21, 2017, and December 8-15, 2017. The researchers used a Netvizz app that allows collecting comments from only public Facebook pages, such as this one Of the "shadow."

In the two periods studied, a total of 194 posts were published, receiving a total of 51,126 replies. The researchers searched for negative reactions. "We searched for keywords like 'left' or 'leftist', written in their correct spelling or appearing with spelling errors, some of which are intentional errors that are sometimes used as derogatory phrases against leftists," the article noted.

After removing repetitive responses or responses containing less than four words and not of real value for questioning, the researchers reached 2,870 relevant responses to the analysis, some of which were very difficult to read in terms of bluntness and verbal violence.

The researchers analyzed the responses using Terrell Northrop's identity theory explaining conflict escalation processes to show how one homogeneous group of Facebook users gradually becomes closed, physically and psychologically alienating those perceived as "different" and, in this case, the "leftist" group. ".

The findings of the study show that in the context of group discourse, normalized hostility towards the opposite political group is created, which can be dangerous for the continued social discourse in social networks.

Examples of the responses examined are "the left is our devil. Because they exist the country is destroyed and the army is weakened"; "Those who choose the left will bring about the end of the country" and "some who have not yet internalized that the left is the most dangerous enemy."

The Northrop model identifies four stages in the process of escalating conflicts - threat, distortion, rigidity, and institutionalization of conflict. As the stages progress, the escalation of the conflict reflected in the discourse becomes increasingly difficult until it becomes irreversible.

Source: International News Agencies, Facebook

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post