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Spike In Online Hate Speech Following #Article50 Trigger

The triggering of Article 50 has prompted a spike in hate speech, researchers monitoring Brexit-related crime on social media have revealed.

A dramatic rise in hate crime after the Brexit vote led police to take measures to protect vulnerable communities in anticipation of a similar surge in violence this week.

Matthew Williams, co-director of the Social Data Science Lab at Cardiff University, said he had observed an increase in online hate speech on the day the Government officially announced its intention to leave the EU.

“What we have noticed, using our various bits of software, is there has been an increase in hate speech today around this event,

It’s hard to say if it is the largest [spike] since Brexit vote, as the day isn’t over,” he said, warning that news broadcasts this evening could incite further abusive and xenophobic messaging.

It is worrying. We’ve entered into what I’d say is a new darker phase when it comes to relations with minority individuals in the UK, whatever minority they may be,

I’ve seen prejudice being expressed towards individuals from other countries in Europe, but it’s also people from countries outside Europe. There’s been lots of anti-Muslim sentiment and a spike in homophobic hate speech.”

Professor Williams, speaking to The Independent

It is important that any online hate speech is captured (via a screenshot on your phone for example), to make it easier when reporting.

You can report a hate crime in confidence in any of the following ways:

  • In an emergency call 999
  • For non-emergencies call 101
  • Report online at
  • Call in at a police station or stop police officers in the street
  • If you would like support as a result of becoming a victim of any crime, contact Victim Support Warwickshire on 01926 682 693.


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