One of the most striking among these is fear speech. Fear speech, as the name suggests, attempts to incite fear about a target community. Although subtle, it might be highly effective, often pushing communities toward a physical conflict. Therefore, understanding their prevalence in social media is of paramount importance. … Remarkably, users posting a large number of fear speech accrue more followers and occupy more central positions in social networks than users posting a large number of hate speech. They can also reach out to benign users more effectively than hate speech users through replies, reposts, and mentions. This connects to the fact that, unlike hate speech, fear speech has almost zero toxic content, making it look plausible. Moreover, while fear speech topics mostly portray a community as a perpetrator using a (fake) chain of argumentation, hate speech topics hurl direct multitarget insults, thus pointing to why general users could be more gullible to fear speech. Our findings transcend even to other platforms (Twitter and Facebook) and thus necessitate using sophisticated moderation policies and mass awareness to combat fear speech.

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