An interesting study was carried out by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in the United States, which determined that extreme temperatures (higher than 21 degrees and lower than 12 degrees Celsius) can increase hate speech in the social networks and aggressiveness online.
“By detecting hateful tweets in more than four billion tweets from US users with our AI algorithm and combining it with weather data, we found that both the absolute number and proportion of hateful tweets increase outside of a climate comfort zone: people tend to display more aggressive behavior online when it’s too cold or too hot outside.” says PIK scientist Annika Stechemesser, first author of the study published in The Lancet Planetary Health.
“Being the target of online hate speech is a serious threat to people’s mental health. The psychological literature tells us that hate online can aggravate mental health conditions, especially for young people and marginalized groups,” adds Stechemesser. “We see that outside of the 12-21°C (54-70°F) window of well-being online hate increases by up to 12 percent for cooler temperatures and up to 22 percent for higher temperatures across the United States. ».
To arrive at these findings, the authors used a machine learning approach to identify approximately 75 million hateful tweets in English in a dataset consisting of more than 4 billion tweets posted on Twitter in the United States between 2014 and 2014. 2020. The authors then analyzed how the number of hateful tweets changed when local temperatures rose or fell.
Across the United States, the authors found low levels of hateful tweets in a “feel-good window” of 12-21°C (54-70°F); the minimum for hate tweets is reached for temperatures between 15-18°C (59-65°F).
“For centuries, researchers have grappled with the question of how climatic conditions affect human behavior and social stability,” explains Leonie Wenz, leader of the working group at the Potsdam Institute that led the study: “Now, with changing ongoing climate change, is more important than ever. Our results highlight online hate speech as a new impact channel through which climate change can affect people’s overall social cohesion and mental health. That means that cutting emissions very quickly and drastically will not only benefit the outside world. Protecting our climate from excessive global warming is also critical to our mental health.”