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Comunicar Journal 71: Hate speech in communication: Research and proposals (Vol. 30 - 2022)

Hate speech and social acceptance of migrants in Europe: Analysis of tweets with geolocation


Carlos Arcila-Calderón

Patricia Sánchez-Holgado

Cristina Quintana-Moreno

Javier-J. Amores

David Blanco-Herrero


Hate speech against vulnerable groups is acknowledged as a serious problem for integration and respect for the social diversity existing within the territory of the European Union. The growth of this type of discourse has been supported by the expansion of social media, which have been proven to act as a mechanism for the propagation of crimes against targets such as migrants and refugees, one of the main affected groups. That is why we have conducted the first European study of the social acceptance of migrants and refugees by studying the presence of hate speech. The research is based on the perspective of the theories of intergroup contact and mediated intergroup contact. The methodology includes large-scale longitudinal analysis (2015-2020) of online hate speech on Twitter (N=847,978) and its contrast with existing official indicators. The results suggest that personal intergroup contact is positively corretaled with the support of the local population towards migrants and refugees but mediated intergroup contact is not correlated with hate speech on Twitter. We found evidence that those regions where the support for foreigners was higher, there was a lower level of hate speech on Twitter. This is an advance in the study of hate speech by territories and can help in the formulation of action strategies.


Inmigration, refugees, attitude, hate speech, big data, Twitter

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