How anti-Asian activities online are on the rise for violence in the world

Negative Asian-American herds have long existed online, but began to increase last March as parts of the United States of America were shut down due to the coronavirus. That month, politicians, including Representative Paul Gosar, a Republican from Arizona, and Representative Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, used the terms “Wuhan virus” and “Chinese coronavirus” to refer to Covid-19 in their tweets.

These terms then began to trend online, according to a study of the University of California, Berkeley. On the day that Mr. Gosar posted his tweet, using the term “Chinese virus” rose 650 percent on Twitter; a day later, there was an 800 percent increase in conservative news articles, the study found.

Mr. Trump also posted on Twitter eight times last March about the “Chinese virus,” which is causing poisonous reactions. In the response section of one of his posts, a Trump supporter replied, “You caused the virus,” and the comment was directed at an Asian Twitter user who quoted U.S. death statistics for Covid-19. The Trump supporter added a joke about Asian people.

In a study this week from the University of California, San Francisco, researchers who investigation 700 000 tweets before and after the messages from mr. Trump in March 2020, found that people who posted the hashtag #chinesevirus were more likely to use racist hashtags, including #bateatingchinese.

“There has been a lot of discussion that ‘Chinese virus’ is not racist and that it can be used,” said Yulin Hswen, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of California, San Francisco. But the term, she said, has changed into a “rally to gather and galvanize people who have these feelings, as well as to normalize racist beliefs.”

Representatives of Mr. Trump, mr. McCarthy and Mr. Gosar did not respond to requests for comment.

Incorrect information linking the coronavirus to anti-Asian beliefs also increased last year. Since March, nearly eight million anti-Asian speeches have been mentioned online, many of which are lies, according to Zignal Labs, a media insight firm.

In an example, an April Fox News article that became baseless said that the coronavirus was created in a laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan and was deliberately released. According to data from Zignal and CrowdTangle, a tool owned by Facebook to analyze social media, the article was shared more than one million times on Facebook and retweeted 78,800 times on Twitter.

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