Trolling and harassment are not just an online phenomenon. There have always been bully antagonists, catcallers and other such toxic behaviors plaguing our society. Social media has helped to shine a light on these issues and give a voice to populations most often targeted by harassment and abuse.
While there is a concerted effort to reduce the negative and abusive behaviors online on the part of technologists and social platforms, perhaps it’s worth examining where tolerance reigns and where prejudice is rampant.
At a rate of 1,115 tweets per 10,000, Louisiana was the origin of the most “slur-containing” tweets. The report defined slurs as derogatory language against blacks, Hispanics or Latinos, women, LGBTQ, people with disabilities and the overweight. Texas, Nevada and even California made the list of states with high rates of derogatory language.
Northwestern and Midwestern states frequently appeared on the list of states with the lowest instances of derogatory language, with tweets from Wyoming containing only 120 slurs per 10,000 posts. There were a few outliers, including the southern state of Arkansas, and the eastern states of Virginia and Maine.
Abodo took an even closer look and broke down the derogatory language by category. West Virginia had the highest rate of anti-black tweets overall, with Baltimore, Atlanta and New Orleans ranking as cities with the most tweets containing slurs against black people. Interestingly, these are all cities with some of the largest populations of black residents.
This pattern carried over when looking at the data for anti-Hispanic tweets. California, Arizona and New Mexico—which are among the top five states for Hispanic and Latino populations—also ranked among the highest for tweets containing anti-Hispanic slurs.
When it came to derogatory language against women, Louisiana rose to the top again with nearly 900 posts per 10,000 containing such terms. Abodo noted:
However, these figures included uses of the word ‘bitch,’ which is commonly used as profanity but not always with sexist intent. When this term is excluded from our analysis, the rankings show a dramatic shift.
When the word “bitch” excluded, the state with the most frequent use of derogatory terms shifted to Nevada. Even still, when broken down by city, excluding the potentially neutral word, Atlanta was the origin of the most gendered insults.
Check out the full report for more data on which states produce the most tweets with slurs against LGBTQ, disabled and overweight people, and which states were most neutral.