SCOTLAND tops the table of the UK’s worst areas for racist and homophobic Twitter users, according to new research.
Twitter trolls in Midlothian and East Ayrshire produce more racist tweets than anywhere else in Britain.
And the extent of homophobic tweeting from Dundee is matched only by the Welsh counry of Denbighshire.
The study, conducted by anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label and social media monitoring company Brandwatch, analysed 19 million tweets from the US and the UK.
Researcher worked out the proportion of hateful tweets to ones considered constructive or neutral.
They used this information as the basis for a “hate speech ratio” for every council area in the UK, including Scotland’s 32 local authorities.
Dundee had a “score” of 24 for homophobia compared with the Scottish average of 8.9. Next worse were Moray with a score of 16.73, Highland (15.55) and Aberdeenshire (15.04),
Midlothian’s score for racist tweets was an incredible 53.85, meaning more than half of all tweets in the area relating to race relations were hateful.
East Ayrshire was not far behind on 49.72 and Dundee came in at 39.53. The Scottish average is 26.
The least racist tweeters were those in Shetland (6.67), Orkney (14.29) and the Scottish Borders (18.58).
Users least likely to use homophobic language were those in East Dumbartonshire (1.58), Stirling (2.07) and Shetland (2.94).
Glasgow and Edinburgh produce some of the most tolerant tweeters in Scotland, with both cities around seven times less likely to produce Twitter homophobia than Dundee.
Glasgow had a hate speech ratio of 3.00 with regards to homophobia, whilst Edinburgh’s score was only slightly worse at 3.59.
The Outer Hebrides, where around 98% of the population are white, was the fourth most racist area in Scotland, with a hate speech ratio of 33.33.
Speaking about the study, Edward Crook, Research Manager at Brandwatch, said: “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.
“It’s also important to note that this study does not aim to vilify any groups and we certainly aren’t making the claim that Scotland is more racist/transphobic/homophobic.
“Rather, this is a measure of explicit discriminatory hate speech used on Twitter.”
Instances of homophobic abuse being sent on Twitter have been prevalent in Scotland over the past few years.
In 2014, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said that “cowards use social media and the internet as an anonymous way to attack others for their sexuality.”
A year later, the SNP suspended one of their members for directing homophobic abuse at the politician.
Davidson later said the user had apologised.
In June this year, a Twitter user known as @MenissaS became a viral sensation, after tweeting to condemn those who were tweeting racial abuse in the aftermath of the EU Referendum.
The woman, who describes herself as a “Punjabi Scot” on her Twitter profile, received thousands of retweets after writing 15 messages condeming racism in Britain.