flowers and toys at an informal mass shooting memorial in Serbia

Insight Society: Igor Brigadir on the connection between online hate speech and mass shootings

Submitted on Monday, 04/09/2023

How does the online world influence the ‘real’ world, and vice versa? This is a subject of interest for Insight researcher Igor Brigadier that took, at first, informal collaborative form as he explored the idea through conversations on Twitter.

‘The project evolved over time and touched on a number of themes, not exclusively mass shootings at first. However, online hate speech-inspired mass shootings became a focal point because they are extreme events at the intersection of a number of phenomena,’ Igor explains. ‘Some mass shootings are an extreme case of online speech influencing real life events.’

Igor became interested in the tools available for surveillance and policing social media; their potential and their limitations.

‘My contribution here is helping untangle the technical aspects and limitations of social media platform surveillance, having worked extensively with journalists (Storyful, Irish Times) on breaking news events during my PhD (From Detection to Discourse: Tracking Events and Communities in Breaking News)

Igor’s current work is focused on balancing government mass surveillance, freedom of speech and need for policing hate speech online. This aspect is more about accountability and checks and balances, he says. The project is a collaboration with the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU