Students create an interactive map of racism and homophobia in America after analysing 150,000 tweets

By Jennifer Faull | Deputy Editor

May 11, 2013 | 2 min read

Students from Humboldt State University have created a map of racism and homophobia in America after analysing 150,000 tweets containing hate words sent between June 2012-April 2013.

For the Geography of Hate project, tweets containing 10 pre-selected hate words in three categories- racism, homophobia and disability – were analysed and an interactive map produced using the data.

The avoid the pitfall of semantic analysis automatically classifying a tweet as negative if it contained a 'hate word,' the organisers of the project relied on students to read the entirety of the message for context before deciding if the tweet was meant as hateful.

This meant that a phrase such as ‘dykes on bikes,’ for example, was left out of the data used in the project because it referenced a gay pride event in San Francisco.

The data has also been 'normalised' so that the scale accounts for the total twitter traffic in each county.

Red appears on the map where there is a larger proportion of negative tweets referencing a particular 'hate word'; pale blue is used to indicate where the proportion is moderate.

Areas without shading show places that have a lower proportion of negative tweets relative to the national average.

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