Wednesday, 28 June 2023, 18:06
Just a few days before the streets were due to overflow with millions of people celebrating Pride in Spain today (28 June), an investigation found that Spanish social media networks have been filled in recent years with hate messages against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and trans people. That is the main finding of the analysis of twelve million digital conversations related to the LGTB community carried out since 2019 by the communication consultancy Llorente and Cuenca. The consulancy group examined on 780,000 Spanish digital profiles using 'big data' techniques and artificial intelligence.
The proportion of hate messages directed against Spaniards who expressed non-heterosexual sentiments more than doubled in just four years, with a marked increase noted last year. Online attacks increased since 2019 by 132% while positive comments towards the LGTB community fell by 15%.
The increase in haters is the largest detected by analysts in the twelve countries where a consultancy carried out the same type of monitoring – the US, Mexico, eight states of central and southern America, Spain and Portugal – in which they tracked 169 million messages. The average increase in attacks due to sexual orientation in the rest of the countries was 10%.
Before the pandemic Spain was one of the countries in the world with the highest proportion of digital talk on LGTB groups of a constructive or positive nature, above 60% of the total. The growth of attacks has substantially changed this situation.
The study found supportive comments towards LGTB citizens were highest in the United States, where they represented 69% of the comments, while the countries with the most hate speech towards these citizens were in Brazil, Ecuador, Chile and the Dominican Republic.
The review of the millions of tweets, posts and chats found that the main themes of the LGTB debate on the internet in Spain in the last four-year period were Pride and the presence or not in the institutions of the rainbow flag, as well as support for the law that expanded the rights of homosexuals, bisexuals and trans. Most of the hate speech focused equally on the ministries, political parties and organisations that managed to push this law forward.
In the rest of the world, most positive chatter on the social media networks were comments about Joe Biden's support for the community, on the celebration of Pride and regarding decisions related to gender identity and support for trans people. Attacks on LGTBI were about the so-called "gender ideology", criticism of their alleged privileges, and disagreement with rules on adoption.
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