Twitter is a great place to read up on the latest news, network with like-minded people and follow the topics that are trending in real time. But it can also be a place of hateful speech – sometimes said in ignorance of how hateful it can be.
The University of Alberta’s Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services has created the website NoHomophobes.com to identify how often certain homophobic phrases are used on Twitter. The site’s tagline explains its purpose: “Homophobic language isn’t always meant to be hurtful, but how often do we use it without thinking?”
The site tracks the number of times four commonly-used homophobic phrases are tweeted. The phrase “So gay” is measured, along with “no homo”, and the words “dyke” and – the most common phrase – “faggot”.
The word “faggot” has been tweeted over 2.5 million times since the site launched on July 5th, 2012. And “so gay” and “no homo” have both been tweeted nearly one million times.
The site displays the number of time each phrase has been used in a day, the previous week, or since the site began. And it also shows, in real time, the latest tweets that were sent containing the offending phrases.
Here’s more about the mission NoHomophobes.com is trying to accomplish:
“This website is designed as a social mirror to show the prevalence of casual homophobia in our society. Words and phrases like “faggot,” “dyke,” “no homo,” and “so gay” are used casually in everyday language, despite promoting the continued alienation, isolation and — in some tragic cases — suicide of sexual and gender minority (LGBTQ) youth.
We no longer tolerate racist language, we’re getting better at dealing with sexist language, but sadly we’re still not actively addressing homophobic and transphobic language in our society.”
Do you think that a site like this could help reduce the use of homophobic language on Twitter?