Have you ever gone on Facebook only to be bombarded by a barrage of racially charged posts, links, and comments from your growing social network? Sure, you may be rolling your eyes in disgust now, but according to new research, the more time you spend perusing your News Feed, the higher your chances of becoming just like them.
The study – which you can read in full for a fee – focused on 623 respondents, 69 percent of which were female. Aside from being asked to quantify their Facebook usage on a scale of 1 to 8 (with 8 as high use), the test subjects were also asked to review three Facebook notes discussing race written by a fictitious 26-year-old male: The first, tackling the superiority of whites over blacks; the second, insinuating that whites have become the most oppressed race in the country; and third, calling awareness to the importance of racial equality and the presence of those who still foster ill feelings for the black community.
Based on the study’s results, users that have high personal Facebook usage ratings were more inclined to believe in the first two notes, which are obviously racist by nature. Those who practice limited Facebook exposure tended to agree with the third note more.
The team behind this study was led by Shannon Rauch, an assistant professor of Psychology at ProvidenceCollege, and Kimberley Schanz, a doctoral candidate at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. They concluded their research by reiterating Facebook’s status as one of the leading sources of information available on the Internet today, and that propagation of racism in the social networking site should be given more attention.
Sadly, racism on Facebook doesn’t stop with our African-American fellowmen. Just last month, the Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI) released a report tackling the issue of hate speech and anti-semitism on Facebook. It goes into detail, citing actual excerpts from Facebook pages, profiles, and events – most of them in the form of an Internet meme that’s meant to appeal to humor. It seems like Facebook did its part by removing the offensive content, once they received OHPI’s extensive accounting.