Media of Contempt: Social Media Consumption Predicts Normative Acceptance of Anti-Muslim Hate Speech and Islamoprejudice

  • Wiktor Soral University of Warsaw, Poland
  • James Liu Massey University, New Zealand
  • Michał Bilewicz University of Warsaw, Poland


The new era of information technology brings new opportunities but also poses new threats. In our paper, we examine whether a shift from traditional print and broadcasting to new online media results in the increased normalization of hate speech towards minorities, and whether this change can subsequently increase prejudice towards minorities. Our research uses data from a representative two-wave longitudinal survey of Polish adults. In wave 1 (N = 1060), data on respondents’ primary sources of information about the world (TV, newspapers, radio, online, social media, blogs) was collected. Wave 2 (N = 628), conducted six months later, included measures of perceived normativity of anti-Muslim hate speech and Islamophobia. We found that respondents who were frequent social media users expressed higher levels of Islamoprejudice and perceived higher normativity of anti-Muslim hate speech than the respondents who got their news from traditional mass media. We also found that an increase in perceived normativity of anti-Muslim hate speech can act as one of the mechanisms through which use of social media is linked to higher Islamoprejudice.

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