Seminar: New Theory in Search of Method: Online Hate as a Prosocial Activity

Invited Presentation from Prof. Joe Walther, UCSB Department of Communication

Friday, 3:00 pm

February 12, 2021
Photo of Joe Walther
Photo of Joe Walther

Traditional approaches to hate speech online typically draw on psychopathology models or assumptions about intergroup prejudice. However, drawing on contemporary theories of online communication and social psychological principles, a new framework has been developed with which to understand online hate (racist speech, cyberbullying, revenge porn, etc.). This new perspective conceives of online hate as activities that are socially organized, and performed in order to garner social reinforcement from online friends within social networks of like-minded “haters”. This talk will explore the premises and predictions of the new model, and open discussion for suggestions of research methods using data science and other tools to investigate and validate the hypotheses.

Joseph B. Walther is a Distinguished Professor in Communication, the Mark and Susan Bertelsen Presidential Chair in Technology and Society, and the Director of the Center for Information Technology and Society at UCSB. His teaching and research focus on computer-mediated communication and social media in personal relationships, groups, educational settings, and inter-ethnic conflict, topics on which he has contributed several original theories and numerous experiments and surveys.