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Open AccessArticle

Refugees Welcome? Online Hate Speech and Sentiments in Twitter in Spain during the Reception of the Boat Aquarius

1
Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Campus Unamuno, University of Salamanca, 37007 Salamanca, Spain
2
Departamento de Periodismo y Comunicación, University Carlos III of Madrid, 28903 Madrid, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Stefan Bratosin
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2728; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052728
Received: 29 January 2021 / Revised: 23 February 2021 / Accepted: 26 February 2021 / Published: 3 March 2021
High-profile events can trigger expressions of hate speech online, which in turn modifies attitudes and offline behavior towards stigmatized groups. This paper addresses the first path of this process using manual and computational methods to analyze the stream of Twitter messages in Spanish around the boat Aquarius (n = 24,254) before and after the announcement of the Spanish government to welcome the boat in June 2018, a milestone for asylum seekers acceptance in the EU and an event that was highly covered by media. It was observed that most of the messages were related to a few topics and had a generally positive sentiment, although a significant part of messages expressed rejection or hate—often supported by stereotypes and lies—towards refugees and migrants and towards politicians. These expressions grew after the announcement of hosting the boat, although the general sentiment of the messages became more positive. We discuss the theoretical, practical, and methodological implications of the study, and acknowledge limitations referred to the examined timeframe and to the preliminary condition of the conclusions. View Full-Text
Keywords: aquarius boat; immigration; hate speech; politicians; refugees and asylum seekers; sentiment analysis; topic modelling; twitter aquarius boat; immigration; hate speech; politicians; refugees and asylum seekers; sentiment analysis; topic modelling; twitter
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MDPI and ACS Style

Arcila-Calderón, C.; Blanco-Herrero, D.; Frías-Vázquez, M.; Seoane-Pérez, F. Refugees Welcome? Online Hate Speech and Sentiments in Twitter in Spain during the Reception of the Boat Aquarius. Sustainability 2021, 13, 2728. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052728

AMA Style

Arcila-Calderón C, Blanco-Herrero D, Frías-Vázquez M, Seoane-Pérez F. Refugees Welcome? Online Hate Speech and Sentiments in Twitter in Spain during the Reception of the Boat Aquarius. Sustainability. 2021; 13(5):2728. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052728

Chicago/Turabian Style

Arcila-Calderón, Carlos; Blanco-Herrero, David; Frías-Vázquez, Maximiliano; Seoane-Pérez, Francisco. 2021. "Refugees Welcome? Online Hate Speech and Sentiments in Twitter in Spain during the Reception of the Boat Aquarius" Sustainability 13, no. 5: 2728. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052728

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