Hate is not binary: Studying abusive behavior of #GamerGate on Twitter


Despoina Chatzakou, Nicolas Kourtellis, Jeremy Blackburn, Emiliano De Cristofaro, Gianluca Stringhini, Athena Vakali


Proceedings of the 2017 ACM Conference on Hypertext and Social Media (HyperText), July 2017


Over the past few years, online bullying and aggression have become increasingly prominent, and manifested in many di erent forms on social media. However, there is little work analyzing the characteristics of abusive users and what distinguishes them from typical social media users. In this paper, we start addressing this gap by analyzing tweets containing a great large amount of abusiveness. We focus on a Twitter dataset revolving around the Gamergate controversy, which led to many incidents of cyberbullying and cyberaggression on various gaming and social media platforms. We study the properties of the users tweeting about Gamergate, the content they post, and the di erences in their behavior compared to typical Twitter users. We nd that while their tweets are often seemingly about aggressive and hateful subjects, “Gamergaters” do not exhibit common expressions of online anger, and in fact primarily di er from typical users in that their tweets are less joyful. They are also more engaged than typical Twitter users, which is an indication as to how and why this controversy is still ongoing. Surprisingly, we nd that Gamergaters are less likely to be suspended by Twitter, thus we analyze their properties to identify di erences from typical users and what may have led to their suspension. We perform an unsupervised machine learning analysis to detect clusters of users who, though currently active, could be considered for suspension since they exhibit similar behaviors with suspended users. Finally, we con rm the usefulness of our analyzed features by emulating the Twitter suspension mechanism with a supervised learning method, achieving very good precision and recall.


  title     = {{Hate is not binary: Studying abusive behavior of #GamerGate on Twitter}},
  author    = {Chatzakou, Despoina and Kourtellis, Nicolas and Blackburn, Jeremy and De Cristofaro, Emiliano and Stringhini, Gianluca and Vakali, Athena},
  booktitle = {Proceedings of the 2017 ACM Conference on Hypertext and Social Media (HyperText)},
  month     = {July},
  year      = {2017},
  address   = {Prague, Czech Republic},
  publisher = {ACM}