Election Analysis and Hate Speech
Social media can make it easier for us to stay connected, but the online world works differently to the offline one, and strong opinions can get amplified. As part of the Political Futures Tracker project with Nesta, we studied how different politicians and political candidates talked about different topics on Twitter, and the reactions of the public to these messages, in the runup to the 2015 and 2017 UK general elections, and also in the runup to the UK EU membership referendum (Brexit).
Social media also makes it easier to vent frustration at politicians or bully public figures anonymously. To quantify how wide spread this is, we studied the same set of tweets to see who is receiving the most abuse, and why they might be receiving it. We found that there are different kinds of abuse, and that current events have a big impact on what people feel strongly about. This is the corresponding peer-reviewed scientific publication.