Study: Anti-Obama Hate Speech Surges on Facebook

| by Michael Allen

A new study by Mia Moody, Ph.D., assistant professor of journalism, public relations and new media in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences, claims that hate groups are using Facebook to get new followers and attack President Obama, as well as First Lady Michelle Obama.

In the Baylor University study, more that 20 Facebook groups and pages were analyzed using the keywords "hate," "Barack Obama," and "Michelle Obama."

Dr. Moody said: “The groups often highlight the President and First Lady with features that are meant to be negative or funny such as beards, Afros, mustaches, gold teeth, do-rags and various costumes. Mrs. Obama is depicted as a masculine, unattractive ‘angry black woman.’"

"Most pictures are accompanied with a disrespectful caption. Most captions do not attack the president and first lady’s political views; instead, they attack them personally with racial slurs that build on racist historical narratives. The shocking nature of these pictures spur numerous comments and ‘likes.’”

Dr. Moody said these groups violate Facebook’s hate speech guidelines, but avoid detection by not placing the slurs in the official title of the page or group, so Facebook is not as quick to find and shut them down.