A flurry of racist tweets that followed President Barack Obama’s re-election came primarily from southern states, according to a map that geographically pinpointed the point of origin of the hate speech.
Tweets calling the president a monkey or using racial epithets prompted a group of geography experts to try and break down whether the hateful language was more prevalent in some areas of the country than others.
As it turns out, it was. The bigoted tweets serve as a useful reminder that technology reflects the society in which it is based, both the good and the bad, said geography research group Floating Sheep.
The group took 365 tweets and laid them over a color-coded map of the United States to analyze the frequency of hate tweets compared to the frequency of election-related tweets in that state.
Mississippi and Alabama had the highest ratio of racist tweets. They were followed by Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee, forming a fairly distinctive cluster in the southeast of online hate speech, the research finds. North Dakota, Utah, and Missouri also had a high prevalence of racist tweets. In the west and northwest, there were very few racist tweets, with the exception of Oregon, the map indicates.
Rates of racist tweets compared to overall Twitter usage was also low in the Northeast, the research found. Some states, including Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and South Dakota, had no hate tweets, but the research notes that the prevalence of Twitter use is lower in those states.