Study: The U shows just how common mean, hateful comments are online

Generic Fox 13 Now.com

SALT LAKE CITY – If you have ever read posts in the comment sections on everything from news websites like Fox13Now.com to social media sites like Facebook, you’ve seen it.

The exchanges often are unfriendly and even downright hateful.

Now, researchers from the University of Utah and the University of Arizona are releasing a study to show just how common the behavior can be.

Researchers analyzed almost 6,500 reader comments posted on a major daily Arizona newspaper’s website.

According to the study, they found that more than one in five comments included something mean-spirited; name-calling was the most common type on incivility.

“We tracked six different kinds of uncivil language but name-calling was far and away the most common,” Kevin Coe said, assistant professor of communication at the University of Utah and one of the study’s authors. “Many people just can’t seem to avoid the impulse to go after someone else.”

The study found these types of commenters don’t fit the stereotype of a few angry people who spend hours on their computers blasting others.

As researchers said they expected, stories about well-known leaders with clear political positions got more uncivil comments than others.

The researchers noted one cause for optimism in their findings.

When one commenter was directly replying to another commenter, they were more likely to be courteous.

MORE: See the full study here

8 comments

    • Patriot

      Researchers should attend a U of U Football game to hear real hateful speech. I have been a U of U student for two degrees.

  • Rick

    Its our 1st amendment right …its called freedom of speech. So what, if your liberal university did a study. Means zero to me.

    • Bob

      Perhaps we should address the shortcomings of the 1st Amendment. Certainly that is what Obama is trying to do with the 2nd Amendment.

    • GreekGodess

      Lol. Rick, you crack me up! It means nothing to you, or “So what, if your liberal university did a study. Means zero to me.” If it really means zero to you, why take the time to respond letting them know how it means zero? Why even take the time? Sounds like you think your time means zero too. Lol!

  • Jimbo

    HA HA HA HA HA!!!!! Really, Fox13? You make no effort at all to control who posts, or under what name, and you run THIS story? LOL! Good one.

  • urstupidallstupid

    Everyone else that commented on this story is so stupid. All of you are just stupid, even the people that post after me and all the other people that post comments all around the world. just stupid, stupid.

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