Fanning the Flames of Hate: Social Media and Hate Crime

84 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2017 Last revised: 5 Nov 2019

See all articles by Karsten Müller

Karsten Müller

Princeton University

Carlo Schwarz

University of Warwick

Date Written: November 3, 2019

Abstract

This paper investigates the link between social media and hate crime. We show that anti-refugee sentiment on Facebook predicts crimes against refugees in otherwise similar municipalities with higher social media usage. To establish causality, we exploit exogenous variation in major Facebook and internet outages, which fully undo the correlation between social media and hate crime. We further find that the effect decreases with distracting news events; increases with user network interactions; and does not hold for posts unrelated to refugees. Our results suggest that social media can act as a propagation mechanism between online messages and violent crime.

Keywords: social media, hate crime, minorities, Germany, AfD

JEL Classification: D74, J15, Z10, D72, O35

Suggested Citation

Müller, Karsten and Schwarz, Carlo, Fanning the Flames of Hate: Social Media and Hate Crime (November 3, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3082972 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3082972

Karsten Müller

Princeton University ( email )

Julis-Rabinowitz Center for Public Policy & Financ
Princeton, NJ 08540
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.karstenmueller.eu

Carlo Schwarz (Contact Author)

University of Warwick ( email )

Gibbet Hill Rd.
Coventry, West Midlands CV4 8UW
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.carloschwarz.eu

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