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Hashtagged Trolling and Emojified Hate against Muslims on Social Media

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This empirical exploratory study examines a number of insulting hashtags used against Islam and Christianity on Twitter and Instagram. Using a mixed method, the findings of the study show that Islam is more aggressively attacked than Christianity by three major communities, unlike Christianity, which is targeted much less by two main online groups. The online discussion around the two religions is politically polarized, and the negative language especially used against Islam includes the strategic use of hashtags and emojis, which have been weaponized to communicate violent messages and threats. The study is situated within the discussion of trolling and hateful content on social media. Aside from the empirical examination, the study refers to the differences in Twitter's and Instagram's policies, for the latter does not allow using hashtags such as #f***Christians and #f***Muslims, unlike Twitter, which accepts all types of hashtags to be used.
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