Socilogical researches

May 25, 2011

The summary of the report: “Phenomenon of the cyber-hatred in the Ukrainian Internet space”


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May 2011


The Institute of Human Rights and Prevention of Extremism and Xenophobia (IHRPEX)

Kyiv International Institute of Sociology


The summary of the report: “Phenomenon of the cyber-hatred in the Ukrainian Internet space”



 From April 18 to May 20, 2011 the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology by the order of the Institute of Human Rights and Prevention of Extremism and Xenophobia carried out the research of the phenomenon of cyber-hatred in the Ukrainian Internet space. The research included two interrelated components: the content analysis of comments on main social and political electronic mass media and the polling of the Internet audience. Within the framework of this research, the notion of “cyber-hatred” was understood as the display of aggression, verbal offences and threats, produced by persons or groups of persons for stirring up of conflicts and transmitted by the electronic mass media. Cyber-hatred may have various forms (discussion, video/photo materials, author’s texts), but within the framework of this research we concentrated our attention on the display of this phenomenon in comments to news and articles. 

The hateful comments, within the framework of this research, mean such messages, which include verbal offences, threats and displays of aggression to a certain social group or a certain person. 

Content analysis of comments

 The purpose of use of the content analysis, within the framework of this research, was detection and description of the most spread displays of cyber-hatred in the Ukrainian Internet space.

 Sampling. We analyzed both independent Internet publications and electronic variants of popular Ukrainian print media. Selecting the publications for analysis we used three main sources of information, which gave us possibility to include the most popular Internet mass media to the analysis.

 First, the open data as for rating of the Ukrainian social and political web sites were analyzed.

 Second, the data of the previous researches of the KIIS, representing the popularity of Ukrainian Internet publications, were used for selection of publications.

 Third, the estimations of the independent experts as for the most influential and popular social and political web sites were included for selection of publications.

 Following the work with the stated sources of information, 20 Internet publications were selected:

 1. Ukrainska Pravda (Українська Правда)

 2. Korrespondent (Кореспондент)


 4. Obozrevatel (Обозреватель)

 5. Livyi bereg (Лівий берег)

 6. Glavred (Главред)

 7. Liga (Ліга)

 8. Dzerkalo tyzhdnia (Дзеркало тижня)

 9. Forum (Форум)

 10. (Точка.net)

 11. UNN (УНН)

 12. Versii (Версії)

 13. Delo (Дело)

 14. Mignews (Мігньюз)

 15. Tsitata (Цитата)

 16. Novosti.UA (Новости.UA)

 17. TSN (ТСН)

 18. Finance.UA (Фінанси.UA)

 19. Gazeta.UA (Газета.UA)

 20. (Цензор.net)

 During the selection of article for analysis, the methodological developments of American researches, used in the content analysis of the Internet publication New York Times, were used. The following approach was used for selection of articles: the researchers every day made the PrintSceen of the main page of a web site for fixing of the most popular articles. Among the most popular articles we randomly selected 3 articles from each publication for each day of analysis. The articles were selected by PPS method, using which the probability of appearing of the article in the sampling depended on the activity of its commenting: the more comments under the article, the bigger probability of appearing in the sampling.

Using such approach, thus, we joined the probabilistic approach and selection of articles by the criterion of popularity.

 5 days of analysis were selected for random selection of articles (3 weekdays and 2 days off). As was noted earlier, 3 articles were selected from each web site for each day of analysis. Thus, during one day of analysis we obtained 60 articles, and, in general, 300 articles and 13 077 comments to them were analyzed.

 During the stage of analysis, the displays of hatred were fixed and checked not only in comments, but as well in the articles.

 Poll of the Internet audience

 The purpose of the online poll of the Internet audience was defining of the general attitude to cyber-hatred, attitude to the phenomenon depending on direction of hatred, estimation of danger of the phenomenon for the society. The respondents were as well asked whether they encountered the displays of cyber-hatred, where this happened and whether they left the hateful comments themselves. Besides, carrying out of the research gave us the possibility to research the prevalence of practice of reading of comments and participation in the Internet discussions. 

The online poll of the Internet users was carried out on the basis of the online polls InPoll, created on the basis of the own KIIS’ software InPoll System. 

The sampling of the research includes 623 respondents, which correspond to the Internet audience of Ukraine by such characteristics as sex, age and type of settlement. 

Methodological restrictions of the research

 As the phenomenon of cyber-hatred currently has no clear methodological approaches and is on the stage of development, we encountered some difficulties when carrying out the research. 

One of the problems concerned the absence of comments to the articles, placed on some web sites, which were selected. In particular, these are such Internet resources as Mignews, Tsitata.Ua and Novosti.Ua. The articles without comments were analyzed for displays of hatred in them. 

The second difficulty concerns coding of comments with displays of hatred. This difficulty, in our opinion, is explained by the fact that authors of comments not always differ notions, for example of region of living and political views, i.e. in their minds, these notions are mutually causal and inseparable. In particular, this concerned the difficulties with understanding of those, against whom the comment was directed: against the representatives of western regions or against Ukrainian nationalists. We mostly managed to define belonging of the comment to one or another kind of hatred with the help of complex analysis of all comments of the author and understanding of the context of discussion. 

The third difficulty concerned the vectors of hatred. In order to define the vectors of hatred we allocated two indicators: the subject and the object of hatred. If there were mostly no problems with coding of the object, than coding of the subject was often impossible, as the authors of messages rather seldom gave clear identification of themselves as representatives of one or another group. In this connection, data as for the vector of hatred were analyzed rather qualitatively than quantitatively; these data give the possibility to see only clearly delineated vectors of hatred, and single out some peculiarities of confrontation. 

Besides the stated circumstances, it should be emphasized that we do not pretend to build the rating of the Internet publications, and only indicate which of the most popular Ukrainian electronic mass media more frequently becomes victims of development of hateful discussions on their resources. 


  A little more than a half (60%) of Internet users of Ukraine are interested in social and political web sites and attended them during the previous 30 days 

- The most attended web sites are Korrespondent, Novosti.UA, UNIAN, TSN, Ukrainska Pravda and Obozrevatel. 

- The overwhelming majority (86%) of visitors of social and political web sites read comments to the articles with different frequency. About one third of visitors takes part in the Internet discussions.  


-  71% of Internet discussions, starting in comments to articles and news, contain hateful comments. 

- Approximately one in three comments on the social and political web sites is hatful. 

- The most part of hateful comments are in discussions on the web sites Gazeta.Ua and TSN, the least one is on the Korrespondent and Finance.Ua. 

- Among the most attended by Internet audience of web sites, the level of hateful comments, placed on such web sites as TSN, UNIAN and, is higher than the average one 

- About 9% of articles of the social and political web sites contain displays of hatred, and on third of similar expressions there belongs to authors of an article, and about 70% is citing of other people. 


 - 9 of 10 respondents encountered displays of hatred in the Internet  

- The greatest transmitter of hatred are the Internet discussions: 80% encountered the displays of hatred in comments, 77% - on forums, blogs and in chats. About one third of respondents (31%) encountered the displays of hatred under the video or audio materials, and under pictures as well (30%). 

- The most part of those, who encountered cyber-hatred (80%), try to ignore its displays, about 15% of respondents enter into discussion 

- The displays of cyber-hatred cause the negative reaction in majority of respondents – this was stated by about 80% of participants of the research. More than a half (64%) of respondents considers that the phenomenon of cyber-hatred threatens the society, and about 10% of respondents does not consider it as a threat. 

- The least censure is caused by hateful comments against politicians and people with other political views. Such areas of discussions as region of residence, nationality and religion are negatively treated by the respondents. 


 The most frequent hateful comments in the Internet discussions concern politics. There are about 35% of comments against politicians among all the hateful ones, 29% - against people with other political views. In general, hierarchy of directions of hatred in comments is the following: 

1.      Comments against politicians 

2.      Comments directed at personal qualities of a person/opponent in the discussion 

3.      Comments against people with other political position                                                                

4.     Comments as for nationality 

5.      Comments as for region of residence 

6.      Comments as for religion 

Cyber-hatred against politicians 

·    The main objects of cyber-hatred of this direction are the representatives of current authorities in whole, V. Yanukovych and Yu. Tymoshenko 

·    The peculiarity of the discourse against politicians, in whole, is frequent accusations of crimes 

·   The displays of aggression, in particular, towards the representatives of current authorities in general, were often found in the comments of this group 

Cyber-hatred against people with other political position

 · Intolerance towards people with other political views more frequently concerned Ukrainian nationalists, supporters of the Party of Regions and supporters of communism: about a half of comments were addressed to nationalists, 17% - against supporters of the Party of Regions, 15% against supporters of communism 

· The comments of this direction, which concerned position and not only support of a certain party, the most frequently contained calls to violence: there were 21% of them towards nationalists, 30% - towards communism, and 3% of such comments towards supporters of the Party of Regions.  

Cyber-hatred against representatives of other nationalities

 · Almost all comments of this direction were concentrated around the following national groups: Russians (43%), Ukrainians (42%) and Jews (13%). The other nationalities in the analyzed discourse were almost not presented.  

· Rather frequently the comments against people of other nationalities is the reflection of existing in society ethnic stereotypes.  

·   One in ten comments, directed against representative of other nationality, contains the call to  elimination.   

Cyber-hatred against residents of different regions of Ukraine

 ·  Hateful comments of this direction concerned only residents of the West, East and South. At the same time, more than a half of comments (65%) concerned exactly the representatives of Western regions. 

· The calls to elimination were rather often met towards residents of  Western regions, they may be encountered in one of five comments. As for residents of the East and South, such comments were practically not found. 


 Vectors of cyber-hatred differ for various directions. Thus, in the direction of the hatred on grounds of nationality, the most spread is the conflict between Ukrainians and Russians. When discussing religion, the vector of “supporters of Moscow Patriarchate against the UGCC/ Catholics” appeared the most frequently. In discussions against representatives of regions of Ukraine, such vectors of hatred as “Ukrainians against residents of Western regions” and “residents of Eastern regions against residents of Western regions” were found the most frequently. When discussing political views, such vectors as “supporters of integration with Russia against Ukrainian nationalists” and “Ukrainians against Ukrainian nationalists” prevailed.