Extreme temperatures fuel hate speech online: Study shows people are more aggressive on Twitter when it’s either too cold or too hot outside
- Researchers combined hate tweets with weather data to see if there was a link
- They found a 54-70°F window where hate tweets were low
- But temperatures outside that window have been associated with an increase in hate tweets
This summer England experienced its hottest day on record, with parts of the country hitting a whopping 40.3°C (104.5°F).
And a new study suggests that these extreme temperatures aren’t just making us reach for our fans — they’re also fueling online hate speech.
Researchers at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research found that people are more aggressive online when it’s either too hot or too cold outside.
“Our results highlight online hate speech as a new channel through which climate change can affect societal cohesion and people’s mental health,” said Leonie Wenz, head of the working group.
Researchers at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research found that people are more aggressive online when it’s either too hot or too cold outside (stock image)
BRITAIN EXPERIENCES ITS HOTTEST DAY IN HISTORY
On July 19, 2022, the UK experienced its hottest day on record, with temperatures exceeding 40°C (104°F).
The mercury reached an unprecedented 40.3°C (104.5°F) in Coningsby and 40.2°C (104.4°F) at London Heathrow Airport at 12.50pm – about an hour after a reading of 39.1° C (102.4 °F) at Charlwood, Surrey, it exceeded the previous UK high of 38.7 °C (101.7 °F) at Cambridge in July 2019.
In third place is 38.5°C (101.3°F) in Kent in August 2003 and 38.1°C (100.6°F) in Suffolk yesterday in fourth place.
The extreme heat was caused by a plume of hot air from North Africa and the Sahara and a subtropical pressure system known as the “Azores High” creeping further north than usual – which experts say was a result of climate change.
In the study, the researchers used machine learning to analyze more than four billion tweets posted in the United States from 2014 to 2020.
Analysis revealed that 75 million of the tweets contained hate speech.
Next, the researchers combined the tweets with local weather data to see if there was a link.
“We found that both the absolute number and the proportion of hate tweets increase outside of a climatic comfort zone: people tend to behave more aggressively online when it’s either too cold or too hot outside,” says Annika Stechemesser, first author of the study.
Researchers identified a “feel good window” of 12–21 °C (54–70 °F) in which the number of hate tweets was low.
However, temperatures outside this window have been linked to an increase in hate tweets.
“We’re seeing that outside the comfort window of 12 to 21 °C (54 to 70 °F), online hate in the US increases by up to 12 percent in colder temperatures and up to 22 percent in higher temperatures,” Frau said stabbing knife.
Specifically, temperatures above 30°C have been found to increase online hate across all socioeconomic groups.
“Even in high-income areas where people can afford air conditioning and other heat-reduction options, we see an increase in hate speech on extremely hot days,” said Anders Levermann, co-author of the study.
“In other words, there is a limit to what people can endure.
“Therefore there are likely limits to adaptation to temperature extremes, and these are lower than those set by our sheer physiological limits.”
Hate speech has been shown to have an impact on victims’ mental health.
“Being the target of online hate speech is a serious threat to people’s mental health,” added Ms Stechemesser.
“The psychological literature tells us that online hate can exacerbate mental illness, especially for young people and marginalized groups.”
The researchers did not investigate the reason for the results.
Temperatures above 30°C have been found to increase online hate across all socioeconomic groups (stock image)
However, previous research has shown that people experience increased frustration and anger during the summer months.
“Exposure to hot summer temperatures increases your heart rate, which causes discomfort,” explained Chad A. Buck, a clinical psychologist at Vanderbilt University who was not involved in the study.
“Discomfort can affect how you express yourself and affect the way others interpret your words and actions.”
The findings suggest that climate change could exacerbate online hate speech around the world.
Ms. Wenz concludes: “For centuries, researchers have been dealing with the question of how climatic conditions affect human behavior and social stability.
“Now, in the face of ongoing climate change, it is more important than ever.
“So this means that a very rapid and drastic reduction in emissions will not only benefit the outside world. Protecting our climate from excessive global warming is also critical to our mental health.”
Life-threatening temperatures above 100F will be up to TEN TIMES more common in Britain by the end of the century, a study warns
Life-threatening temperatures above 100°F will be up to 10 times more common in Britain by the end of the century, a new study warns.
The researchers examined future climate projections to see how global exposure to “hazardous environments” will increase in the coming decades.
By 2100, a “dangerous” temperature of 39.4 °C (103 °F) will be three to 10 times more common in mid-latitude countries like Britain and the US by 2100, they found.
For more than half of the year, scorching weather will “challenge working outdoors” in countries along the equator by 2100, although “deadly” heat waves could also hit mid-latitude countries every year.
Record-breaking heatwaves have hit several places this summer, from the UK to Spain, Delhi in India and the US Pacific Northwest.
In July, UK temperatures rose above 40°C (104°F) for the first time, while a preliminary reading of 40.3°C (104.5°F) marked a record high in Lincolnshire.