Memes are taking the alt-right’s message of hate mainstream

Think of an internet meme and you’ll probably smile. The most memorable viral images are usually funny, from Distracted Boyfriend to classics like Grumpy Cat. But some memes have a much more sinister meaning. They might look as innocuous as a frog, but are in fact symbols of hate. And as memes have become more political, these hateful examples have increasingly found their way onto mainstream social media platforms. My colleagues and I recently carried out the largest scientific study of memes to date, using a dataset of 160m images from various social networks. We showed how “fringe” web communities…

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