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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

NYU: The Downstream Consequences of Online Discrimination

With a newly awarded Content Policy Research on Social Media Platforms research grant from Facebook, Dr. Rumi Chunara, assistant professor of biostatistics, and Dr. Stephanie Cook, assistant professor of biostatistics and social and behavioral sciences with New York University College of Global Public Health, continue their research on the downstream factors associated with online discrimination.

According to a first-of-its-kind study, cities with a higher incidence of a certain kind of racist tweets reported more hate crimes related to race, ethnicity, and national origin. Dr. Chunara and Cook’s research team analyzed the location and linguistic features of 532 million tweets published between 2011 and 2016. They trained a machine learning model to identify and analyze two types of tweets: those that are targeted – directly espousing discriminatory views – and those that are self-narrative – describing or commenting upon discriminatory remarks or acts. The team compared the prevalence of each type of discriminatory tweet to the number of hate crimes reported during that same time period in those cities.

The analysis found a negative relationship between the proportion of race/ethnicity/national-origin-based discrimination tweets that were self-narrations of experiences and the number of crimes based on the same biases in cities. Dr. Chunara noted that while experiences of discrimination in the real world are known psychological stressors with health and social consequences, the implications of online exposure to different types of online discrimination – self-narrations versus targeted, for example – need further study.

Read the full press release of their research.

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