Covid-19 Resource Center

Understand how consumers are responding.

Ditch the Label announce findings of report into Cyberbullying and Hate Speech Online

International anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label has published findings of a major study of cyberbullying and hate speech online to coincide with anti-bullying week.

Ditch the Label has partnered with leading social intelligence company Brandwatch, evaluating 19 million tweets from the US and the UK over the span of four years in order to better understand the current climate of cyberbullying and hate speech online.

The report looks at who is most likely to send abuse, who is most likely to receive it, when people are most likely to experience cyberbullying, topics most likely to precede it and how best to respond to it.

The research into cyberbullying and hate speech online is a response to key findings from Ditch the Label’s Annual Bullying Survey 2016, the first major study to look at why young people bully others. The research, conducted in partnership with schools and colleges over the UK, found that 1.5 million young people (50%) have been bullied within the past year and 2 out of 10 were bullied every day. People who have been bullied are almost twice as likely to bully others and 6 out of 10 young people have experienced cyberbullying. Of those, half never tell anyone through fear or embarrassment.


Key findings:

  • Politics is the topic most likely to receive bullying remarks, followed by topics relating to sport and food.


  • You are most likely to experience cyberbullying on Twitter between 5pm-8pm on a Sunday.


  • Racist language was the most common form of hate speech on Twitter. Of the 19 million tweets analysed according to specific search terms, over 7.7m tweets featured racially insensitive language. Men sent 59% of these.


  • Misogynist tweets were the second most common form of hate speech with 3m of analysed tweets featuring misogynistic comments. 52% of these were sent by women. Tweets about what it means to be a man, homophobia and transphobia also featured largely.


  • Sports fans are over-represented in bullying tweets, as are executives. By contrast, teachers and scientists, as well as those interested in politics and environmental issues, are less likely to participate in online hate speech.


  • The majority of insults on Twitter related to intelligence (33%) and appearance (20%) with sexual orientation, religion and gender also used as hate speech.


  • Female trolls tended to use insults relating to intelligence (dumb, stupid), appearance (fat, ugly), and derogatory animal terms (bitch, chicken), while males were more likely to use homophobic insults.


  • Responding to people who troll escalates the conflict. Research found that responding to bullying tweets escalated the conflict in 44% of cases, compared with only 3% of positive outcomes.


Report Methodology

For the purpose of this research, hate speech is classified as abuse that directly targets a unique factor beyond the control of the recipient. Whilst recognising there is a broader spectrum of hate speech, for the purpose of this research Ditch the Label has focused on race, sexuality and gender identity. Cyberbullying is classified as generalised abuse, largely towards the appearance, interests and intelligence of the recipient.

Online Hate Speech: Five queries were written to capture hate speech across five topics: racial intolerance, misogyny, masculinity construct, homophobia and transphobia. For each topic, a separate query searched for neutral and supportive discussion about the topic. The data was then analysed for key trends, author demographics and regional variation within the UK and the US.

Online bullying: Bullying exchanges were collected from Twitter, not limited to specific hate speech areas of section one. These were used to establish whether specific times and topics were more prone to online trolling, and whether responding to online bullying more often helps or hinders the recipient.

Liam Hackett, Founder and CEO of Ditch the Label says, “The Internet is a powerful tool for connecting people, however it now means that it is possible to experience abuse from somebody anonymous or who you have never even met. The data provides a uniquely observational view on the issue of cyberbullying and hate speech and we will now be using these insights to further develop our support programs and campaigns. It’s important not to villainise those who use the Internet to send abuse, rather we should be trying to understand the root issues.”

Edward Crook, Research Manager at Brandwatch says, “The data paints a troubling view of online abuse, but we should remember that social networks are also a powerful source of support for those experiencing bullying. With tools such as Brandwatch to understand online bullying, we are better equipped to tackle this behaviour and support those affected.”

A full infographic of the report is available here: 

Ditch the Label is one of the UK’s leading anti-bullying charities and the only charity to offer online bullying support. The charity has recently launched a digital support platform that provides instant advice and support for young people who are experiencing bullying or associated problems.

In 2015, 180,000 young people benefited from anti-bullying support from Ditch the Label. They also work internationally in the US and in Mexico.

Ditch the Label take an innovative approach to research and interventions, focussing attention on prevention of bullying in addition to offering support to those who have been bullied.

Young people impacted by bullying can get support directly from Ditch the Label via their website at

Media Enquiries:

For further information, interviews or case studies please contact Pandora George at Bullet PR 01273 775520/07729 469220


About Ditch the Label

Ditch the Label have launched a new digital support platform that provides instant advice and support for young people who are experiencing bullying or associated problems relating to a wide range of issues including mental health, body image, sexuality and hate crimes.

The charity primarily work online in partnership with social networks, online gaming platforms and via their own website to deliver award-winning support programs for young people who have been bullied and who are bullying others.

Ditch the Label work closely with schools, colleges and online gaming platforms to produce some of the largest research papers on the topic of bullying and associated behaviours in the world.

About Brandwatch

Brandwatch is the world’s leading social intelligence company. Brandwatch Analytics and Vizia products fuel smarter decision making around the world.

The Brandwatch Analytics platform gathers millions of online conversations every day and provides users with the tools to analyse them, empowering the world’s most admired brands and agencies to make insightful, data-driven business decisions. Vizia distributes visually-engaging insights to the physical places where the action happens.

The Brandwatch platform is used by over 1,200 brands and agencies, including Unilever, Cisco, Whirlpool, British Airways, Asos, Heineken, Walmart and Dell. Brandwatch continues on its impressive business trajectory, recently named a global leader in enterprise social listening platforms by the latest reports from several independent research firms. Increasing its worldwide presence, the company has offices around the world including Brighton, New York, San Francisco, Berlin, Stuttgart, Paris and Singapore.

Brandwatch. Now You Know. | @Brandwatch

We value your privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience and give you personalized content. Do you agree to our cookie policy?

More info.

By using our site you agree to our use of cookies

Crimson Hexagon has merged with Brandwatch. You’re in the right place!

From May 8th, all Crimson Hexagon products are now on the Brandwatch website. You’ll find them under ‘Products’ in the navigation. If you’re an existing customer and you want to know more, your account manager will be happy to help.