Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Co not only help to spread fake news and rumors, they are also breeding grounds for racism, fundamentalism and other extremist views. US researchers have now examined for the first time in more detail how hatred spreads in such networks and why it persists. They found that there is a whole network of interlinked "hate clusters" that are connected across platforms, countries and language boundaries. As a result, they form global "hate highways" that make it extremely difficult to contain and combat such extremist clusters.
As useful and connecting to the world as the internet and especially social media are - recently, Facebook, Twitter and the like have been criticized again and again. Because not only friends and like-minded people can be found on these platforms for a nice exchange: virtual communities with extremist views and ideologies - centers of hatred - are also increasingly emerging. "Some people find it attractive to join such a hate group or community because their social structure reduces the risk of being externally controlled or faced with opposing views," said Neil Johnson of George Washington University in Washington DC and his colleagues