Perceived exposure to and avoidance of hate speech in various communication settings

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© 2019 Elsevier Ltd Social media platforms have been accused of spreading hate speech. The goal of this study is to test the widespread belief that social media platforms have a high level of hate speech in the eyes of survey respondents. Secondarily, the study also tests the idea that encountering perceived hate speech is related to avoiding political talk. The study analyzes data from a two-wave online survey (N = 1493) conducted before and after the 2018 U.S. Midterm Elections, and it estimates perceived exposure to hate speech across multiple venues: face-to-face, social media, mobile messaging applications, and anonymous online message boards. Results show that (a) respondents report higher levels of hate speech on social media in comparison to face-to-face communication and (b) there is a positive relationship between perceived exposure to hate speech and avoidance of political talk. Results are discussed in light of public conversations about hate speech on social media.

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Telematics and Informatics

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