Why did online hate increase during the pandemic

Last year global youth charity, Ditch the Label, commissioned research into the prevalence of hate speech online, analyzing 263 million conversations in the UK and US between 2019 and mid-2021.

Major news events predicted significant increases in abusive messages. These included the World Health Organization labeling COVID-19 a pandemic in March 2020; the Black Lives Matter protests in June of the same year; and the murder of Sarah Everard in March 2021.

Liam Hackett, CEO of Ditch the Label, which does a lot of anti-bullying work, attributed the overall increase during the pandemic to lockdown conditions, noting that being stuck indoors, with a great deal of disposable time, and feeling like you have no control over your life created “a perfect storm” for online abuse. 

He also cited research findings revealing that “people who bully and troll… may have low mental health…trauma… be in an abusive household, may be being targeted and bullied themselves.”