Nearly 7,000 Islamophobic tweets in English were generated every day in July across the world, with the most significant increase coming after the terror attack in the French city of Nice, according to research by the think tank Demos.
In comparison, the number of such tweets in April was about 2,500. The Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at Demos used 49 words and hashtags as indicators of anti-Islamic tweets.
“Over July, we identified 215,247 tweets, sent in English and from around the world, as highly likely to be hateful, derogatory, and anti-Islamic. On average, this is 289 per hour, or 6943 per day,” a report based on the study said.
Online big data research by Demos found significant spikes in the use of anti-Islamic language on Twitter were strongly correlated to current events, particularly acts of terrorism.
“Many of the tweets identified as derogatory and anti-Islamic included specific references to recent acts of violence and attacked entire Muslim communities in the context of terrorism,” Demos said.
The think tank said the five most significant spikes in anti-Islamic tweets occurred on July 5, four days after the siege of a café in Bangladesh by Islamic State militants (9,220 tweets); July 8, a day after the killing of five police officers in Dallas (11,320 tweets); July 15, the day after a terrorist drove a truck through crowds in Nice (21,190 tweets); July 17, a day after the failed coup in Turkey that was seen by some Twitter users as an attack on secularism (10,610 tweets); and July 26, the day after a Christian priest was beheaded in a Normandy church by IS members (8,950 tweets).
Demos said Islamophobia on Twitter was increasing month on month, with July the highest rate since its dedicated analysis began in March. Since the research began, Demos found an average of 4,972 Islamophobic tweets were sent per day.
In the wake of the IS attack in Brussels, a particularly high volume was recorded in March.
Demos was able to geo-locate abusive tweets in every EU member state. As only tweets in English were recorded, the majority were traced to the UK. Significant concentrations were also identified in the Netherlands, France and Germany, the think tank said.