Islamophobia has become a digital rallying cry for white supremacists and other extremists online. Xenophobic, derisive, and disinformative content appears with regularity in conversations about Islam on the fringe social media site Gab – a platform that bills itself as “the free speech social network” but that researchers argue features high levels of hate and conspiracy in comparison to Twitter, which it is modeled upon (Zannettou et al., 2018). We provide an overview of Islamophobia online, detailing prior research that describes the integral role that sites like Gab, 8Chan and Voat play in spreading harmful and defamatory content to larger publics on Facebook, Reddit, YouTube, and Twitter. Then, in collaboration with the social media analytics firm Graphika, we describe results from a quantitative analysis of Gab. Pulling from the complete database of all Gab messages assembled by Pushshift.io, we focus in on four months of data from the Summer and Fall of 2018. We then search the set for Islam-relevant hashtags, derogatory terms, and the names of Muslim U.S. political candidates who ran in 2018 – in the end compiling a set of 188,763 posts. We find that a significant proportion of the material about Islam and Muslims is derogatory.
Read the report here:
Incubating Hate: Islamophobia and Gab