Mapping online hate: A scientometric analysis on research trends and hotspots in research on online hate

Ahmed Waqas, Joni Salminen, Soon gyo Jung, Hind Almerekhi, Bernard Jansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Internet and social media participation open doors to a plethora of positive opportunities for the general public. However, in addition to these positive aspects, digital technology also provides an effective medium for spreading hateful content in the form of cyberbullying, bigotry, hateful ideologies, and harassment of individuals and groups. This research aims to investigate the growing body of online hate research (OHR) by mapping general research indices, prevalent themes of research, research hotspots, and influential stakeholders such as organizations and contributing regions. For this, we use scientometric techniques and collect research papers from the Web of Science core database published through March 2019. We apply a predefined search strategy to retrieve peer-reviewed OHR and analyze the data using CiteSpace software by identifying influential papers, themes of research, and collaborating institutions. Our results show that higher-income countries contribute most to OHR, with Western countries accounting for most of the publications, funded by North American and European funding agencies. We also observed increased research activity post-2005, starting from more than 50 publications to more than 550 in 2018. This applies to a number of publications as well as citations. The hotbeds of OHR focus on cyberbullying, social media platforms, co-morbid mental disorders, and profiling of aggressors and victims. Moreover, we identified four main clusters of OHR: (1) Cyberbullying, (2) Sexual solicitation and intimate partner violence, (3) Deep learning and automation, and (4) Extremist and online hate groups, which highlight the cross-disciplinary and multifaceted nature of OHR as a field of research. The research has implications for researchers and policymakers engaged in OHR and its associated problems for individuals and society.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0222194
JournalPloS one
Volume14
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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