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Shetlanders are most tolerant tweeters, study finds

SHETLAND has one of the lowest rates of racist and homophobic Twitter users in Scotland, according to a new study.

Bullying charity Ditch the Label and social media monitors Brandwatch said in the research that the country is the worst area in the UK for hateful tweets.

However, Shetland had the best score of all of Scotland’s local authority areas when it came to racist messages, with less than seven per cent of tweets about race relations on the social networking platform deemed hateful.

Scotland’s average is 26 per cent, with Midlothian the worst performing area with a rate of over 50 per cent.

When it came to homophobic tweets, Shetland was the third least likely area to use hateful language with a ratio of 2.94 per cent. The Scottish average is 8.9.

Dundee had the worst score for homophobia at 24 per cent, with Moray, Highland and Aberdeenshire following close behind.

The study examined over 19 million tweets from the UK and the US over a four year period.

John Anderson of local group Shetland LGBT welcomed the results but said the study highlighted the potential dangers of social networking websites like Twitter.

“It is great to see Shetland come out so well in this study which underlines my view that Shetland is a very tolerant, cosmopolitan, forward looking place.” he said.

“It is still worrying though that there is still this level of racist and homophobic abuse to be seen in Scotland. It also illustrates how easily social media can get used to promote hate and bullying and that this is still a serious underlying problem.

“However like many of these kinds of studies, it is always wise not to read too much into any single study.”

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