Mapping the Twitter linkages between American politicians and hate groups
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
Big Data is a growing field after social media allowed developers to collect and store data using various platforms. The present research utilises Twitter data and Apache Spark to extend and develop an easy to implement method to test a contemporary question of interest. Specifically, I focus on Donald Trump’s campaign for the President of the USA. Donald Trump’s campaign had been very controversial from the start, following his hostile views expressed toward immigrants and minorities. During this time, media pundits and the public spent much time debating whether Trump’s campaign was motivated by hate or other factors. The present work examines whether Donald Trump had unique appeal to hate groups by examining the twitter linkages between several American political leaders (Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, and Paul Ryan) with American hate groups. The results show that users who often retweet Donald Trump are more likely to frequently retweet American hate groups such as Neo Nazis, White Nationalists, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-LGBT, and anti-government groups, more than any other politician. While other Republican politicians were also linked to anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, and anti-LGBT groups, it was to a lesser extent than Trump. This data suggests Trump may have had unique appeal to American hate groups.