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Unmasking Hate on Twitter: Disrupting Anonymity by Tracking Trolls

  • Author(s): Ascher, Diana L
  • et al.
Abstract

Notions of free speech and expectations of speaker anonymity are instrumental aspects of online information practice in the United States, which manifest in greater protections for speakers of hate, while making targets of trolling and hate speech more vulnerable. In this chapter, we argue that corporate digital media platforms moderate and manage “free speech” in ways that disproportionately harm vulnerable populations. After being targets of racist and misogynist trolling ourselves, we investigated whether new modes of analysis could identify and strengthen the ties between the online personas of anonymous speakers of hate and their identities in real life, which may present opportunities for intervention to arrest online hate speech, or at least make speakers known to those who are targets or recipients of their speech.

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