Understanding cyberhate: Social competition and social creativity in online white supremacist groups

Karen M. Douglas, Craig McGarty, Ana-Maria Bliuc, Girish Lala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated the self-enhancement strategies used by online White supremacist groups. In accordance with social identity theory, we proposed that White supremacist groups, in perceiving themselves as members of a high-status, impermeable group under threat from out-groups, should advocate more social conflict than social creativity strategies. We also expected levels of advocated violence to be lower than levels of social conflict and social creativity due to legal constraints on content. As expected, an analysis of 43 White supremacist web sites revealed that levels of social creativity and social conflict were significantly greater than were levels of advocated violence. However, contrary to predictions, the web sites exhibited social creativity to a greater extent than they exhibited social conflict. The difference between social creativity and social competition strategieswas not moderated by identifiability. Results are discussed with reference to legal impediments to overt hostility in online groups and the purpose of socially creative communication.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-76
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Science Computer Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2005


  • cyberhate
  • social competition
  • conflict
  • violence
  • social creativity
  • White supremacists


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