Persistence of Misinformation and Hate Speech Over the Years: the Manchester Arena Bombing

Vicari, R., Elroy, O. ORCID:, Komendantova, N. ORCID:, & Yosipof, A. (2024). Persistence of Misinformation and Hate Speech Over the Years: the Manchester Arena Bombing. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction e104635. 10.1016/j.ijdrr.2024.104635.

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Project: sCience and human factOr for Resilient sociEty (CORE, H2020 101021746)


In the aftermath of the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing, the ensuing debate in the press and on social media underscored terrorism's potential to intensify divisions. This study delves into the social media and press dynamics of rumors following the attack, and into the subsequent discourse on migration policies. We collected a dataset consisting of 3,184 press articles and 89,148 tweets about the Manchester Arena bombing. This research aims to identify prevalent rumors, explore the short- and long-term impacts on user engagement, analyze the sentiment in tweets related to each rumor, and examine perceptions of terrorism threats and migration policies among both the press and X (previously Twitter) users. The study found that X acted as an echo chamber for misinformation, amplifying specific rumors related to the attack, while the press exhibited fact-checking practices and provided nuanced perspectives. Notably, one rumor suggesting the attacker was a refugee gained traction over the years, reflecting an increase in anti-immigrant sentiments. Emotional responses on X ranged from neutral to heightened distress and anger, highlighting the significant impact of social media narratives on public sentiment. The research underscores the polarization of views on social media, influenced by the condensed format of tweets and the rapid production cycle, with X users expressing predominantly very negative attitudes toward immigration. This study emphasizes the critical role of the media in dispelling misinformation and fostering nuanced public understanding in complex sociopolitical contexts.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Misinformation, Manchester Arena bombing, NLP, Hate speech, Press, Social media
Research Programs: Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA)
Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA) > Cooperation and Transformative Governance (CAT)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2024 08:14
Last Modified: 09 Jul 2024 13:38

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