News & Politics

German Towns Where Facebook Use Is Higher Than Average Reliably Experience More Attacks on Refugees: Study

The research studied violent incident's over a two-year period in the region.

Photo Credit: Anthony Quintano

A sobering new study found that looked at anti-immigrant violence in Germany over a two-year period found a startling link between the violence: Facebook.

The New York Times reports:


Towns where Facebook use was higher than average, like Altena, reliably experienced more attacks on refugees. That held true in virtually any sort of community — big city or small town; affluent or struggling; liberal haven or far-right stronghold — suggesting that the link applies universally.

Their reams of data converged on a breathtaking statistic: Wherever per-person Facebook use rose to one standard deviation above the national average, attacks on refugees increased by about 50 percent.

The researchers whose study included "3,000-plus data points" believe "this effect drove one-tenth of all anti-refugee violence" in the nation. The Times notes that this finding of a link to violence is specific to Facebook, not internet use overall.

Experts who reviewed the findings from the study "called them credible, rigorous — and disturbing."

Facebook refused to comment on the study.


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Chris Sosa is the former Senior Editor of AlterNet. His work also appears in Mic, Salon, Care2, Huffington Post and other publications. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisSosa.