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Curses! People swear a lot on Twitter, and here are the most popular words

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Some people use Twitter to share links and keep up with what’s going on in the world. Others use it to troll people, writing nasty messages that are often with mean language (heck, even that first group of people we mentioned sometimes uses salty vocabulary). Even though it’s a public platform, Twitter doesn’t have the same level of formality as, say, work emails, so there’s a lot of cursing going on. Warning: Shield your eyes if you’re averse to foul language, cause there are some “choice” language coming up.

A team of researchers looked into when, how, and why people curse on Twitter, and presented their paper this week at the ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing.

“It’s a sizable fraction of the words we use. On average, one tweet out of 13 tweets will contain at least one cursing word,”  Wenbo Wang, the Ph.D researcher at Ohio’s Wright State University who led the study, pointed out to Fast Company. “Because of social media, people don’t see each other. They can say things they wouldn’t say in the physical world.” 

In other words, people swear a ton on Twitter because the platform makes them feel more liberated than they do in different situations. 

Angry tweets were found to be most likely to contain curses: 23.82 percent of the angry tweets parsed had bad words in them, compared with 2.5 percent of ‘joyful’ tweets. 

Along the same lines, curse word tweets were least likely on Saturdays, when people are less stressed. They increased during the week, and the researchers even noted that they diminished during lunch time, when they surmised people were in a good mood. 

The research paper makes a strong argument that people tweet bad words when they’re in a bad mood. 

So what are the most popular curse words? Well, take a look at this chart: 

Screenshot 2014-02-19 16.19.32
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Kate Knibbs
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