Riffraff. Polish Social Media about Ukrainian Minority

Monday, 16 July 2018: 15:45
Oral Presentation
Marek TROSZYNSKI, Collegium Civitas, Poland
Poland and Ukraine share a border and 1000 years of common history. Over that period, many stereotypes have arisen in both societies. For economic and political reasons (the Russia-Ukraine conflict) more than 1 million Ukrainians have emigrated to Poland. This is the largest and most visible minority in Poland.

The aim of the text is to describe the attitudes the Poles take towards Ukrainians by analysisng statements about the latter in social media. We present the results of a 12-month study on Internet discourse. During the study, commercial tools were used to gather more than 1,000,000 statements about Ukrainians. The purpose was to analyze social media discourse, including the description of hate speech: quantitatively - as a percentage of all speech and qualitative - what topics appear in the discourse. The random sample of texts was encoded by a trained encoder team. Then we used Machine Learning and other tools from Natural Language Processing to expand the marked categories to the whole corpora.

The results of this study show how social media reproduces / constructs negative stereotypes of minorities. In the analyzed dataset, 57% of the responses were considered negative, 35% were neutral and only 8% were positive. Throughout the corpora, 24% of sentences have been labeled as hate speech. The subject of the analyzed statements was dominated by references to history - especially the Second World War, when in 1943 UPA (Ukrainian Insurgent Army) murdered more than 100,000 Poles in Volhynia. Indeed, topics related to economic migration, although related to the phenomenon hic et nun, always appear in the context of historical harm and stereotypes. Notably, negative statements tended to present a point of view coinciding with the version of Polish-Ukrainian relations and history as presented by the media of the Russian Federation.