Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Stockholm University, Swedish Institute for Social Research

No 7/2020: Misogynistic and xenophobic hate language online: a matter of anonymity

Emma von Essen () and Joakim Jansson ()
Additional contact information
Emma von Essen: Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University, Postal: SOFI, Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Joakim Jansson: Linneaus University, Postal: SOFI, Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: In this paper, we quantify hateful content in online civic discussions of politics and es- timate the causal link between hateful content and writer anonymity. To measure hate, we first develop a supervised machine-learning model that predicts hate against foreign residents and hate against women on a dominant Swedish Internet discussion forum. We find that an exogenous decrease in writer anonymity leads to less hate against foreign residents but an increase in hate against women. We conjecture that the mechanisms behind the changes comprise a combination of users decreasing the amount of their hate- ful writing and a substitution of hate against foreign residents for hate against women. The discussion of the results highlights the role of social repercussions in discouraging antisocial and criminal activities.

Keywords: online hate; anonymity; discussion forum; machine learning; big data

JEL-codes: C55; D00; D80; D90

77 pages, August 20, 2020

Full text files

FULLTEXT01.pdf PDF-file Full text

Download statistics

Questions (including download problems) about the papers in this series should be directed to Daniel Rossetti ()
Report other problems with accessing this service to Sune Karlsson ().

This page generated on 2020-08-20 16:53:38.