Journal article Open Access

Dynamics of Cyber Hate in Social Media: A Comparative Analysis of Anti-Muslim Movements in the Czech Republic and Germany

Hanzelka, Jan; Schmidt, Ina

K. Jaishankar

In this paper, we address the issue of cyber hate in two selected cases of social movements from Central Europe, namely Pegida from Germany and Initiatives against Islam from the Czech Republic. Based on the Intergroup Contact Theory and previous research of cyber hate, we focus on the users of pages related to the above-mentioned movements on Facebook. For this purpose we use samples of user comments which are presented on the Facebook pages of the above-mentioned movements and we identify and measure the percentage of hateful comments, their targeting and trigger events by using a qualitative coding method. The research results show that in cyberspace, hate comments are more frequent in the case of the Czech Initiative against Islam. The targeting of these comments is very similar in both countries and we are able to classify immigrants and refugees, Muslims in general, governments in both countries, political elites (EU, USA), and people who are in favour of immigrants or refugees (most often from NGOs) as individual targets. Trigger events are linked across both countries and the largest cyber hate instigators are incidents in which refugees and immigrants are presented as perpetrators, as well as issues of asylum policy in general.

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