Trump’s ‘Chinese Virus’ Tweet Linked to Rise of Anti-Asian Hashtags on Twitter

Trump’s ‘Chinese Virus’ Tweet Linked to Rise of Anti-Asian Hashtags on Twitter

In the week after former President Donald J. Trump tweeted about “the Chinese virus,” the number of coronavirus-related tweets with anti-Asian hashtags rose precipitously, a new study from UC San Francisco has found. They found that users who adopted the hashtag #chinesevirus were far more likely to pair it with overtly racist hashtags. By contrast, those who adopted #covid19, the WHO’s official name for the disease and the term recommended by public health experts, were far less likely to include racist hashtags in their tweets. The results showed a large difference in anti-Asian sentiment between the kind of hashtags that appeared in tweets with #covid19 and those that appeared in tweets with #chinesevirus. About 20 percent of the nearly 500,000 hashtags with #covid19 showed anti-Asian sentiment, but anti-Asian bias was apparent in half of the more than 775,000 hashtags with #chinesevirus.

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