From: The New York Times

The Rise of Hate Search

The New York Times:
HOURS after the massacre in San Bernardino, Calif., on Dec. 2, and minutes after the media first reported that at least one of the shooters had a Muslim-sounding name, a disturbing number of Californians had decided what they wanted to do with Muslims: kill them.

In November, there were about 3,600 searches in the United States for “I hate Muslims” and about 2,400 for “kill Muslims.” We suspect these Islamophobic searches represent a similarly tiny fraction of those who had the same thoughts but didn’t drop them into Google. “If someone is willing to say ‘I hate them’ or ‘they disgust me,’ we know that those emotions are as good a predictor of behavior as actual intent,” said Susan Fiske, a social psychologist at Princeton, pointing to 50 years of psychology research on anti-black bias.
“If people are making expressive searches about Muslims, it’s likely to be tied to anti-Muslim hate crime.” Google searches seem to suffer from selection bias: Instead of asking a random sample of Americans how they feel, you just get information from those who are motivated to search. But this restriction may actually help search data predict hate crimes. “Public polls, properly done, describe what a representative sample of Americans believe and feel about an issue,” Paul Sniderman, a political scientist at Stanford, explained in an email. “Google searches answer a different question: What do people excited enough by an issue to comment on it think and believe about it? The answer to this question, just because it is unrepresentative of the public as a whole, may be a better bet to predict hate crimes.”
Read the whole story: The New York Times

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