Social Media, US Election, and Hate Speech: Study on Social Climate {Review}


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After the US election and the victory of Donald Trump, the discussion has just rekindled Facebook, fake news and hate speech; The social media is credited with a decisive share of political opinion. The Friedrich Ebert Foundation has now examined how the social climate in Germany actually looks like.


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What is the New Right?

After the US election many demanded that Facebook should investigate the share of fake news and hate comments on the election result. Meanwhile, the Friedricht-Ebert-Stiftung has just published a study in which the approval and rejection of new right attitudes in the population is recorded.

The Friedrich Ebert Foundation is certainly a pioneer in this field, which has so far been little explored. The New Right transports its nationalist-ethnic ideology through the terms “identity” and “resistance” and increasingly replaces open right-wing extremism. Because the question for all of us Company, Bosses, employees and private persons, the question must be: How is it about living together in our society? And what can we do to improve the social climate?

What shows the new right attitude?

Conspiracy myths about an alleged infiltration by Islam, the assertion of a dictation of opinion, an insult to the “establishment” as illegitimate, mendacious and fraudulent, the call for national return to the EU and the call for resistance against current politics form a coherent pattern of new law , which is represented by almost 28% of the population.

The further to the right the respondents position themselves, the more they represent this form of new right attitudes. 84% of the AfD voters tend to adjust their attitudes.

Opinions about Islam and refugees

40% of all respondents believe that Islam undermines German society. More than one in four (28%) thinks: “The ruling parties are cheating on the people”, just as many complain: “In Germany you can no longer freely express your opinion without getting in trouble.” (28%) and demand: "It is time to show more resistance to current politics" (29%).

In contrast, the mood among the population with regard to the refugees is significantly more positive than is often assumed. The majority of the population expressed benevolent or at least positive tendency to accept refugees in Germany in the summer of 2016. Over half of the respondents (56%) think the admission is good, another 24% at least “partly-partly” good and is optimistic that society will be able to cope with the current situation.

Only a minority feels really threatened

Only 20% explicitly find it “rather not” or “not at all” that Germany has taken in many refugees. A small minority feels personally threatened by refugees in their way of life (6%) or financially (7%), but around a quarter of those questioned fear a decline in living standards in Germany.

Conflict is the widespread anti-Muslim attitudes (19%) and the acceptance of prejudices against asylum seekers; they increased from 2014 (44%) to 50% in 2016. There is also a high consensus on negative opinions about long-term unemployed people; they are shared by almost half of all respondents (49%).

Differences between West and East Germany

With regard to differences in demographic groups, there are significant differences between East and West German respondents: xenophobia, anti-Muslims, the devaluation of Sinti and Roma, asylum seekers and homeless people are significantly more pronounced in the East.

Also among the approximately 26% adherents of the AfD, there are conspicuously high approval values ​​for prejudiced and right-wing populist opinions. The data confirm: Those who find the ideas of the AfD well have moved significantly to the right compared to 2014. AfD sympathizers are more hostile and more extreme than non-sympathizers. This trend has intensified since the last FES Center study.

Media clamor and split society

The authors of the study also criticize the way the media dealt with the topic: "We should not give the loud minority of xenophobes so much space in the social debates, but pay more attention to the democratically minded majority," says author Beate Küpper. And editor Ralf Melzer from the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung adds: "Political education also means supporting and qualifying those who are committed to our core values, humanity and diversity."

Andreas Zick, co-author of the study and head of the IKG: “Germany is in an ordeal: While many are led by right-wing populist opinions and have become more aggressive towards elites and supposedly strangers, others are willing to do even more for integration. ”

The methodology

Facets Group-related human hostility (GMF) have been investigated by the Institute for Interdisciplinary Conflict and Violence Research (IKG) at the University of Bielefeld since 2002. These are devaluation and hostility to social groups.

The resulting ten-volume series of “German States” and the series of middle studies on extreme right-wing attitudes commissioned by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung every two years since 2006 (until 2012 in cooperation with the University of Leipzig) are presented in the form of this book merged for the second time after 2014. Based on a representative survey for 2016, it describes the image of a divided society. The data basis of the representative survey 2016 are:

  • Telephone survey (CATI) of 1.896 representative selected persons with German nationality; Time of interview: June to August 2016;
  • Implementation: Social Science Survey Institute (SUZ), Duisburg
  • Data from a total of 1.015 women (53,5%) and 880 men (46,4%)
  • Age of respondents: 16 - 95 years; Age average: 50,3 years

A summary of the results can also be downloaded here: http://www.fes.de/de/gespaltene-mitte-rechtsextreme-einstellungen-2016/


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  1. Thomas Eggert

    Social Media, US Election & Hate-Speech: Study on the Social Climate of Simone ... via BERUFEBILDER - Highly recommended 0ovq81eFQT

  2. REGIS GMBH

    Social Media, US Election & Hate-Speech: Study on the Social Climate of Simone ... via BERUFEBILDER - Highly recommended f0TvptNXMq

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