A new study has found that former President Donald Trump's first tweet about "Chinese virus" triggered a rise in anti-Asian hashtags on Twitter.
In a peer-reviewed study published recently, researchers from the University of California at San Francisco collected tweets that used either "#covid19" or "#chinesevirus" from March 9 to 23, 2020, corresponding to the week before and after Trump's tweet with the phrase "Chinese Virus" on March 16, 2020.
Having analysed 1,273,141 hashtags during the two weeks, the researchers found that Trump's tweet on March 16, 2020 was directly responsible for a major increase in anti-Asian hashtags.
According to the study, one fifth (19.7 percent) of the 495,289 hashtags with #covid19 showed anti-Asian sentiment, compared with half (50.4 percent) of the 777,852 hashtags with #chinesevirus.
When comparing the week before March 16, 2020 to the week after the date, according to the study, there was a significantly greater increase in anti-Asian hashtags associated with #chinesevirus compared with #covid19.