Social media has expanded and transformed our society; it has allowed conventionally ‘hard-to-hear’ minority voices gain traction and enter mainstream online debate. However, this increased level of exposure comes with a greater risk to the LGBT community; with content published online having the potential to impact suffering beyond the virtual space. Combine this with the fact that a significant amount of hate has migrated to the internet, it is imperative for policy and practice reasons, to understand the impacts of this new mode of online communication.
At present, this research seeks to examine the unique online representations for distinct LGBT identities and explore the potentially differing impacts of online hate speech on this community using a twofold mix-method approach.
Collection and analysis of the data will be afforded by the COSMOS platform, including: sentiment analysis, topic analysis (using Latent Dirichlet Allocation), and network analysis. Drawing on the work of Williams & Burnap (2015), information propagation modelling will be performed to identify the spread of attitudes of intolerance and hate, and to identify which type of Twitter narratives gain most traction around events (e.g. narratives from which types of users, which topics etc.)
A survey of LGBT victims of online and offline hate, complemented with interviews, will be conducted to explore the varying impacts of hate, and finally, following the methodology in Williams & Tregidja (2014), regression analysis will be utilised to identify differences in the level of impact between victims and modes of delivery.
If you are interested in this research project or have any comments; please contact me via email, Twitter or LinkedIn.