Misinformation and Hate Speech: The Case of Anti-Asian Hate Speech During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Donald Trump linked COVID-19 to Chinese people on March 16, 2020, by calling it the Chinese virus. Using 59,337 US tweets related to COVID-19 and anti-Asian hate, we analyzed how Trump’s anti-Asian speech altered online hate speech content. Trump increased the prevalence of both anti-Asian hate speech and counterhate speech. In addition, there is a linkage between hate speech and misinformation. Both before and after Trump’s tweet, hate speech speakers shared misinformation regarding the role of the Chinese government in the origin and spread of COVID-19. However, this tendency was amplified in the post-Trump tweet period. The literature on misinformation and hate speech has been developed in parallel, yet misinformation and hate speech are often interwoven in practice. This association may exist because biased people justify and defend their hate speech using misinformation.