Online Networks of Racial Hate: A Systematic Review of 10 Years of Research on Cyber-Racism

The ways in which the Internet can facilitate the expression and spread of racist views and ideologies have been the subject of a growing body of research across disciplines. To date, however, there has been no systematic reviews of this research. To synthesise current knowledge on the topic and identify directions for future research, we systematically review a decade of research on cyber-racism as perpetrated by groups and individuals (i.e., according to the source of cyber-racism). Overall, the cyber-racism research reviewed shows that racist groups and individuals use different communication channels, are driven by different goals, adopt different strategies, and the effects of their communication are distinctive. Despite these differences, both groups and individuals share a high level of skill and sophistication when expressing cyber-racism. Most of the studies reviewed relied on qualitative analyses of online textual data. Our review suggests there is a need for researchers to employ a broader array of methods, devote more attention to targets’ perspectives, and extend their focus by exploring issues such as the roles of Internet in mobilising isolated racist individuals and in enabling ideological clustering of supporters of racist ideologies.

Tags: Hate Speech