Measuring #GamerGate: A Tale of Hate, Sexism, and Bullying

TitleMeasuring #GamerGate: A Tale of Hate, Sexism, and Bullying
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference2017
AuthorsChatzakou, Despoina, Nicolas Kourtellis, Jeremy Blackburn, Emiliano De Cristofaro, Gianluca Stringhini, and Athena Vakali
Book TitleProceedings of the 26th International Conference on World Wide Web Companion
Series TitleWWW '17 Companion
Conference LocationPerth, Australia

Over the past few years, online aggression and abusive behaviors have occurred in many different forms and on a variety of platforms. In extreme cases, these incidents have evolved into hate, discrimination, and bullying, and even materialized into real-world threats and attacks against individuals or groups. In this paper, we study the Gamergate controversy. Started in August 2014 in the online gaming world, it quickly spread across various social networking platforms, ultimately leading to many incidents of cyberbullying and cyberaggression. We focus on Twitter, presenting a measurement study of a dataset of 340k unique users and 1.6M tweets to study the properties of these users, the content they post, and how they differ from random Twitter users. We find that users involved in this "Twitter war" tend to have more friends and followers, are generally more engaged and post tweets with negative sentiment, less joy, and more hate than random users. We also perform preliminary measurements on how the Twitter suspension mechanism deals with such abusive behaviors. While we focus on Gamergate, our methodology to collect and analyze tweets related to aggressive and bullying activities is of independent interest.


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