Gendered hate speech in YouTube and YouNow comments: Results of two content analyses

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Description: Publication: Döring, N. M., & Mohseni, M. R. (2020). Gendered hate speech in YouTube and YouNow comments: Results of two content analyses. Studies in Communication and Media 9 (1), 64-91. DOI: 10.5771/2192-4007-2020-1-64 Objective: Online hate speech in general, and gendered online hate speech in particular, have become an issue of growing concern both in public and academic discourses. However, although YouTube is the most important social media platform today and the popularity of social live streaming services (SLSS) such as Twitch, Periscope and YouNow is constantly growing, research on gendered online hate speech on video platforms is scarce. Methods: To bridge this empirical gap, two studies investigated gendered online hate speech in video comments on YouTube and YouNow, thereby systematically replicating a study by Wotanis and McMillan (2014). Study 1 investigated YouTube in the form of a content analysis of N = 8,000 publicly available video comments that were addressed towards four pairs of female and male German-speaking YouTubers within the popular genres Comedy, Gaming, HowTo & Style, and Sports [Fitness]. Study 2 examined YouNow, with a quantitative content analysis of N = 6,844 publicly available video comments made during the video streams of 16 female and 14 male popular German-speaking YouNowers. Results: Study 1 successfully replicated the findings of Wotanis and McMillan (2014) that compared to male You- Tubers, female YouTubers received more negative video comments (including sexist, racist, and sexually aggressive hate speech) (H1a). In addition, they received fewer positive video comments regarding personality and video content but more positive video comments regarding physical appearance (H2a). Study 2 partly confirmed the earlier findings: It found that, compared to male YouNowers, the video comments received by female YouNowers were more sexist and sexually aggressive, but not generally more hostile or negative (H1b). They received more positive video comments regarding their physical appearance but did not receive fewer positive video comments regarding their personality or the content of their videos (H2b). With some exceptions, the findings of study 2 were comparable to the findings of study 1 (RQ1). Discussion: In both studies, most effect sizes were small. Overall, females on the video platforms YouTube and YouNow seem to be disproportionately affected by both hostile and benevolent sexism expressed in viewer comments. The results are in line with the Expectation States Theory and the Ambivalent Sexism Theory. The total number of public hate comments was probably underestimated because inappropriate comments can be deleted by moderators and users. Future research directions and practical implications are discussed.

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