Twitter reports a 900 per cent increase in hate speech against China and Chinese people since the news that Wuhan in China was where the outbreak flourished and spread to the world.
The findings come as numerous US rights groups, activists and politicians have sounded the alarm about a surge in the number of racist incidents directed at Asian Americans.
The coronavrius outbreak began in December 2019 in Wuhan, China and then quickly spread to nearly every country around the globe.
As of Friday evening, there are 580,000 cases and more than 26,000 deaths reported.
Over the past month, many countries have implemented lockdowns, forcing millions of people to stay in their homes.
‘People are spending more and more time on social networks, communication apps, chat rooms and gaming services, and the problems endemic to these platforms — hate, abuse, toxicity and bullying — have become accentuated,’ the Israel-based media monitoring company said in its report.
‘According to our data, much of this hate and abuse is being directed towards China and its population, as well as individuals of Asian origin in other parts of the world,’ added the startup that uses artificial intelligence to detect harmful content in social networks.
The report states that although there are some uplifting stories being shared online as people confined because of the pandemic first detected in China turn to the Internet, there is also plenty of hate being shared.
‘Toxic tweets are using explicit language to accuse Asians of carrying the coronavirus and blaming people of Asian origin as a collective for spreading the virus,’ the study found.
Certain media outlets have also been found to encourage backlash against Asians, pointing to a video on Sky news Australia titled ‘China willfully inflicted coronavirus upon the world.’
Critics say US President Donald Trump’s repeated references to the COVID-19 virus as the ‘Chinese virus,’ has also resulted in xenophobia.
Trump made the statement earlier this month during a briefing saying, he had ‘important developments in our war against the Chinese virus,’
He told reporters he used the description because the virus originated in Wuhan province of China.
‘It’s not racist at all. It comes from China, that’s why. It comes from China. I want to be accurate,’ he said during a press briefing.
Internet traffic to prominent hate sites has also increased by 200 per cent.