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    Online engagement between opposing political protest groups via social media is linked to physical violence of offline encounters

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    Summary: Opposing groups might make use of unstructured online environments to engage with each other in a way that is hostile. This might be reflected in a worsening of relationships, leading to explaining the observed increases in physical violence when they met offline.

    Source: Social Media + Society.

    With the technological advancement and the rise of the Internet and social media has opened the opportunity for individuals with different backgrounds, experiences, and opinions to communicate with each other in an open as well as in a largely unstructured way. Here, one important question that arises is, whether the nature of online engagements among groups relates to the nature of encounters between these groups that occur in the real world.

    The psychologists of Free University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands have analyzed online conversations which had occurred between members of protest groups from opposite sides of the political spectrum, after obtaining information from Facebook event pages that was used to organize upcoming political protests and rallies in the United States and the United Kingdom and the event of violence during these protests and rallies. Employing natural language processing and text analysis, the researchers have shown that increased engagement between groups online is associated with increased violence when these groups come together in a meeting in the real world. The amount or level of engagement between groups taking place online is substantial, and might be characterized as negative, brief, and low in the context of integrative complexity.

    The above findings suggest that opposing groups might make use of unstructured online environments to engage with each other in a way that is hostile. This might be reflected in a worsening of relationships, leading to explaining the observed increases in physical violence when they met offline. These findings also raise important questions as to whether unstructured online communication is compatible with positive inter group contact. This also highlights the role that the Internet might be playing in the wider issues of extremism, radicalization and likewise.



    Published: Ural Federal University

    Contact: John D. Gallacher, University of Oxford, UK.

    Details: Image source Unsplash

     

    Hi, I’m Aarti, My Psychoanalytical approach towards my clients is to empower them to better their lives through improving their relationship with themselves. I believe shame and guilt is a common barrier to change. I aim to guide my clients through re authoring their narratives where shame, guilt, and other problems have less power and take up less space.

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