Study on hate speech: When it is hot, there is more hate speech

When temperatures are above 20 degrees Celsius, there will be more insults and hate messages on social networks. This is the conclusion of a study by several German researchers, including those from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).

The researchers combined for their analysis around 75 million hate messages with weather data posted on Twitter in the USA. Based on the data, they found that in a twelve to 21 degree “feel good window” across the US, there was very little hate mail are posted – and the fewest between 14 and 13 degrees.

The exact “feel good window” varies depending on the climate zone – depending after so what temperatures are usual. If it gets uncomfortably cold, there are also more messages with offensive content, but not to the same extent as on extremely hot days. The observation applies across different climate zones and socio-economic differences such as income or political preferences, according to the analysis published in the journal The Lancet Planetary Health .

The authors of the study took into account the data from 773 US cities over a six-year period. They concentrated on normal working days to compensate for data corruption caused by increased free time for tweeting. As a possible reason for the irritable mood on Twitter, the researchers refer to the well-known effect that people can sleep less well when it is very hot.

However, this factor is not sufficient to explain the phenomenon as a whole. “Even in high-income areas where people can afford air conditioning and have other means of heat regulation, we see an increase in aggression on extremely hot days – from 30 Degrees are going up steeply,” explained one of the authors of the study, Anders Levermann . There is a limit to what people can endure, regardless of whether they usually live in a hot or a rather cool climate.


The study did not examine individual cases of particularly strong hate waves, but was able to use the data collected to Determine correlation between hate speech and extreme temperatures. Why exactly there was an increase in hate speech was not the subject of the study. In addition to the temperature, other reasons for more offensive content would also be conceivable, such as current, controversial political events. However, according to the researchers, even automated or political campaigns could not explain why so many more inflammatory messages are measured when there is extreme heat.

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