Thursday, September 6, 2018

Just How Many People REALLY Hate Star Wars' New Diversity? Survey Says!

Who hates Star Wars for its newfound diversity? Here are the numbers.

I [Bethany Lacina] collected thousands of tweets from Star Wars fans and used computer algorithms to characterize fan conversations. With tools developed at Cornell University, I examined tweets for positive or negative attitudes, “offensive language’’ (profanity and belligerence), and “hate speech,’’ which includes ethnic, misogynistic, and homophobic slurs, as well as threats of violence. Cornell’s algorithm also classifies extreme slurs against political and ideological groups as hate speech.

I [Bethany Lacina] found that in a keyword search for “Star Wars” or “The Last Jedi” (including variants and abbreviations), about 6 percent of tweets used offensive language. I removed false positives in which the algorithm misunderstood the context. On the other hand, the algorithm cannot detect politely worded attacks, so it’s possible that it underestimates abuse. Nor could I count tweets deleted by their author or for violation of community standards, which disappear from Twitter’s archives. (Twitter’s data suggest about 5 percent of tweets are deleted.)

Read more at The Washington Post.

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