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How social media platforms can contribute to dehumanizing people – Phys.org

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A recent analysis of discourse on Facebook highlights how social media and an individual’s sense of identity can be used to dehumanize entire groups of people.

“Fundamentally, we wanted to examine how can normalize hatred and contribute to dehumanization,” says Jessica Jameson, co-author of a paper on the work and a professor of communication at North Carolina State University. “And we found that an established model of the role identity plays in intractable conflicts seems to explain a great deal of this behavior.”

For this study, Jameson worked with colleagues at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem to assess discourse on a Facebook page that was noteworthy in Israel for propagating right-wing hate speech. Specifically, the researchers examined comments on the page that were related to other Israeli Jews who commenters felt were not politically right wing.

“We found that the language used in these Facebook interactions hewed very closely to three stages we see in Terrell Northrup’s theory of intractable conflict,” says Jameson. “One stage is the threat—meaning that the people in one group perceive another group as a threat to their identity. For example, one representative comment we found was that ‘The leftists are our devil, because of their existence the country is being destroyed and the army weakened.’

“A second stage is distortion. This basically means that the first group will not engage with new information regarding the other group—instead distorting it or dismissing it as irrelevant for some reason. For example, ‘I don’t know if I really want to know the answer to the question of whether the thinking of the left is due to infinite stupidity or infinite naivete.’

“A third stage is rigidification—where people become locked into their positions, making it difficult or impossible to change their views of the other group,” Jameson says. “This is where dehumanization occurs, and we see people referring to the political left as ‘cockroaches,’ ‘vermin,’ or ‘stinking dogs.’ And when people stop seeing members of a group as human—that’s dangerous.

“Look, when tools are used for community-building, or to provide social support, or to engage people who have otherwise remained silent, they are very valuable,” Jameson says. “The concern that is raised by our work here is that when one group uses these platforms to dehumanize another group, there is no possibility for conversation with those who have different views. And things may potentially become dangerous.

“I don’t think having social media companies police their own sites is the answer. But I do think this work highlights the need for more efforts aimed at fostering healthy communication between groups.”

The paper, “The Normalization of Hatred: Identity, Affective Polarization, and Dehumanization on Facebook in the Context of Intractable Political Conflict,” is published open access in the journal Social Media + Society.


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More information:
Tal Orian Harel et al, The Normalization of Hatred: Identity, Affective Polarization, and Dehumanization on Facebook in the Context of Intractable Political Conflict, Social Media + Society (2020). DOI: 10.1177/2056305120913983

Citation:
How social media platforms can contribute to dehumanizing people (2020, May 20)
retrieved 20 May 2020
from https://phys.org/news/2020-05-social-media-platforms-contribute-dehumanizing.html

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China media, Hong Kong government bristle at Trump's pledge of curbs, sanctions – Cape Breton Post

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By James Pomfret and Stella Qiu

HONG KONG/BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s state media and the government of Hong Kong lashed out on Sunday at U.S. President Donald Trump’s vow to end Hong Kong’s special status if Beijing imposes new national security laws on the city, which is bracing for fresh protests.

Trump on Friday pledged to “take action to revoke Hong Kong’s preferential treatment as a separate customs and travel territory”, and to impose sanctions on unspecified individuals over Beijing’s new laws on the Asian financial centre.

But China’s state media pushed back, saying this would hurt the United States more than China.

“The baton of sanctions that the United States is brandishing will not scare Hong Kong and will not bring China down,” China’s Communist Party mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, wrote in a commentary. It used the pen name “Zhong Sheng”, meaning “Voice of China”, often used to give the paper’s view on foreign policy issues.

The Global Times wrote, “China has already prepared for the worst. No matter how far the U.S. goes, China will keep its company.”

A Hong Kong government spokesman expressed regret the United States continued to “smear and demonise the legitimate rights and duty of our sovereign” to safeguard national security.

In a sign of diplomatic manoeuvring, the U.S. government said it would put one of its prime Hong Kong properties up for sale – a luxury residential complex worth up to HK$5 billion ($650 million).

A spokesman for the U.S. consulate in Hong Kong said this was part of a global programme that “reinforces the U.S. government’s presence in Hong Kong” through reinvestment in other areas.

China and Hong Kong officials have justified the laws that will be directly imposed by China to restore order to a city that has been wracked by sometimes violent anti-China, anti-government protests over the past year. They said the laws will only apply to a small number of “troublemakers.”

Protesters, however, have said they are railing against China’s deep encroachment on Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms despite Beijing’s promise to grant the city a high degree of autonomy under a so-called “one-country, two systems” formula since it reverted from British to Chinese rule in 1997.

More protests are planned in the coming weeks.

Countries including the United States, Canada and Britain have expressed deep concerns about the law, with Britain saying it may grant expanded visa rights to large numbers of Hong Kongers.

Demosisto, an advocacy group led by prominent young Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong, said the security law will be “the death of freedom in Hong Kong”.

A senior Hong Kong official, Erick Tsang, said he couldn’t care less if he were sanctioned by the Washington. “I wouldn’t even go to Canada, just in case they try to catch me” there, Tsang told local radio.

Details of the laws remain unclear, even to Hong Kong officials, but are expected to be enacted by China’s parliament this summer. The laws will outlaw secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference in Hong Kong, and will be imposed without any local legislative scrutiny.

(Reporting by Hong Kong newsroom and Stella Qiu in Beijing; Writing by James Pomfret; Editing by Christopher Cushing and William Mallard)

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China media bristles at U.S. moves on Hong Kong over national security push

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HONG KONG (Reuters) – China’s state media lashed out on Sunday at possible retaliatory moves by the United States to impose sanctions and end Hong Kong’s special status if Beijing imposes new national security laws, as the city braces for fresh protests.

The state-backed China Daily said U.S. President Donald Trump’s pledge to “take action to revoke Hong Kong’s preferential treatment as a separate customs and travel territory”, and to impose sanctions on unspecified individuals, would hurt the United States, and unite Hong Kong with mainland China.

“China has already prepared for the worst. No matter how far the U.S. goes, China will keep its company. If Trump’s plan continues, Washington will soon run counter to the interests of most Hong Kong people,” the state-run Global Times tabloid wrote.

“The extreme tactics of a superpower like the U.S. are nothing less than chronic suicide.”

A Hong Kong government spokesman expressed regret the United States continued to “smear and demonise the legitimate rights and duty of our sovereign” to safeguard national security.

In a sign of diplomatic manoeuvring, the U.S. government said it would put one of its prime Hong Kong properties up for sale – a luxury residential complex worth up to HK$5 billion ($645.09 million).

A spokesman for the U.S. consulate in Hong Kong told Reuters this was part of the U.S. government’s global reinvestment programme that “reinforces the U.S. government’s presence in Hong Kong” through reinvestment in other areas.

China and Hong Kong officials have justified the laws that will be directly imposed by China to restore order to a city that has been wracked by sometimes violent anti-China, anti-government protests over the past year.

Protesters, however, have said they are railing against China’s deep encroachment on Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms despite Beijing’s promise to grant the city a high degree of autonomy under a so-called “one-country, two systems” formula since it reverted from British to Chinese rule in 1997.

They have said more protests are planned in the coming weeks.

Countries including the United States, Canada and Britain have expressed deep concerns about the law, with Britain saying it may grant expanded visa rights to large numbers of Hong Kongers.

Demosisto, the advocacy group led by prominent young Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong, said the security law will be “the death of freedom in Hong Kong”.

Details of the laws remain unclear, even to Hong Kong officials, but are expected to be enacted by China’s parliament this summer. The laws will outlaw secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference in Hong Kong, and will be imposed without any local legislative scrutiny.

Authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong insist the legislation will target only a small number of “troublemakers” who threaten China’s national security.

(Reporting by Hong Kong newsroom and Stella Qiu in Beijing; Writing by James Pomfret; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Edited By Harry Miller)

 

Source: cape-breton-post

Edited by Harry Miller

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Tainted water series from Global News, media consortium wins Canadian Association of Journalists award – Globalnews.ca

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A nationwide investigation that exposed the prevalence of lead contamination in drinking water has been honoured by the Canadian Association of Journalists.

Tainted Water received the group’s award for data journalism during a ceremony hosted via Zoom on Saturday.


READ MORE:
Inside the investigation that exposed lead-laced drinking water in Canada

The series was produced by the Institute for Investigative Journalism (IIJ) at Concordia University, along with Global News and outlets such as Le Devoir, the Toronto Star, the Regina Leader-Post and the National Observer.

“We are incredibly honoured to be recognized alongside our partners and the IIJ with such a prestigious award,” said Chris Bassett, Global News’ national director for content and editorial standards.

“This series had an immediate impact across the country and was a collaborative effort supported by many outstanding journalists across the country to expose an issue impacting the health and safety of thousands of Canadians.”

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In total, more than 120 reporters were involved in the project, which was published and broadcast during the fall. More than 220 hours of interviews were recorded by members of the consortium and the journalists filed over 700 access-to-information requests.

READ MORE: Investigation into lead in Canada’s drinking water spurs calls for action across country

The investigation found that, out of 12,000 tests conducted by 11 cities, 33 per cent exceeded safe lead levels as defined by Health Canada.

The findings sparked immediate action from leaders. In Quebec, the government announced it would adopt stronger standards for acceptable lead content, in line with Health Canada guidelines. The mayor of Montreal vowed to test the water at more than 100,000 homes and accelerate a program for replacing lead pipes.

Halifax extended an offer to replace lead pipes on private property for free. And in Alberta, at least 50 school divisions contacted the provincial health authority asking for support or information regarding lead testing in the weeks following the investigation.

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© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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