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Uncivil Reactions to Sexual Assault Online: Linguistic Features of News Reports Predict Discourse Incivility
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking  (IF4.157),  Pub Date : 2021-12-07, DOI: 10.1089/cyber.2021.0075
Hannah Stevens, Irena Acic, Laramie D. Taylor

Reports of sexual assault have been found to elicit online discourse incivility. The present study employs a computerized coding tool to examine linguistic characteristics of news media that are likely to influence discourse incivility—specifically, negative emotion, disagreement, and discussion about power relations. Additionally, machine learning was harnessed to measure the levels of comment toxicity, insult, profanity, threat, and identity attack in Reddit and Twitter posts sharing news reports of sexual assault. Findings reveal that linguistic features of news articles interact with platform community norms to predict rape culture as expressed within online responses to reports of sexual assault.