From memes to messages: US research shows rise in anti-Hindu hate and disinformation across Internet

In their most recent report, US academics from Rutgers University said that “anti-Hindu misinformation” on social media and messaging platforms has significantly increased.

Experts claim that the analysis showed that over the past few years, hate speech against the Hindu community on social media has increased sharply.

John J. Farmer Jr., director of the Miller Center and the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, noted that racism and violence against the Hindu community are regrettably nothing new. The social media environment in which hateful words are disseminated is novel. Our earlier research has demonstrated a link between the prevalence of hate speech on social media and the emergence of violent crimes.

In a report titled “Anti-Hindu Disinformation: A Case Study of Hinduphobia on Social Media,” the methods through which anti-Hindu hatred is spread are discussed.

“In July the signal on the Hinduphobic code words and memes reached record highs that could inflame a spill out to real world violence, especially in light of escalating religious tensions in India and the recent beheading of an Indian shopkeeper,” the report stated.

According to their analysis of 1 million tweets, Iranian trolls spread anti-Hindu stereotypes, memes to create division as part of their campaign to accuse the community of committing genocide on minorities.

“Our hope is that the report serves as a timely warning before the hate messaging leads to real-world violence,” said Denver Riggleman, former U.S. congressman and Miller Center Research fellow and visiting scholar.

The analysis is based on studies by NCRI and Rutgers Centers that look at how conspiracy theories and social media are used to spread hatred and physical violence and were published in 2020.