An Analysis of Hate Speech among Armenian Facebook Users
Social media networking websites have become platforms where users can not only share their photos, moments of happiness, success stories and best practices, but can also voice their criticism, discontent and negative emotions. It is interesting to follow how something that starts as a mere disagreement or conflict over clashing interests or values can develop into a hateful exchange on Facebook that targets social media users based on their gender, religious belonging, ethnicity, sexual orientation, political convictions etc.
The present research explores how hateful posts and comments can start among Facebook users, and studies the language means employed in their design.
The factual material was retrieved from more than ten open Facebook pages managed by popular Armenian figures, such as media experts, journalists, politicians and bloggers, in the period 2018–2020.
The analysis of hate speech samples extracted from these sources shows that hate speech can find its explicit and implicit reflection in the online communication of Armenian Facebook users, and can be characterised by contextual markers such as invisibility, incitement to violence, invectiveness and immediacy. The language analysis of the posts and comments comprising hate speech has helped to identify language features of hateful comments including informal tone, use of passive voice, abusive and derogatory words, rhetorical or indirectly formed questions, generalisations and labelling.
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