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University researchers track millions of anti-gay slurs on Twitter

Friday, September 28, 2012
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EDMONTON, Alberta, Canada — The University of Alberta’s Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services in Edmonton has created a new Canadian social-media experiment that found millions of anti-gay slurs on Twitter within the past two months.

The Institute’s newly-created website, NoHomophobes.com, has a daily counter on its home page that tracks the number of slurs tweeted, the top three being the phrase(s) “Faggot,” “So Gay,” “No Homo,” and “Dyke.”

According to university researchers, a numerical analysis revealed that the word “faggot” was used more than 2.5 million times since July. Last week alone, it was in 219,000 tweets.

The researchers also found the phrase “So Gay,” was in 900,000 tweets, while another 800,000 had “No Homo.” The word “dyke” came across in 350,000 comments.

“We never imagined the scale of casual homophobia that actually exists on social media,” said Kristopher Wells, associate director for the institute.

“The use of homophobic language remains one of the few socially acceptable forms of discrimination in our society and make no mistake, leads to isolation, bullying, beatings, and tragically youth suicide,” he said.

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