Sarcasm Beyond Hate Speech: Facebook Comments on Syrian Refugees in Turkey

Tirşe Erbaysal Filibeli, Can Ertuna


In Turkey, the widespread sharing of false information about refugees on social media is one of the main reasons behind the ever-increasing antirefugee sentiment. In this study, with a reference to critical discourse studies and by adopting a theoretical approach on indirect violence, 1,000 user comments made under the most viral false claims on Facebook about Syrian refugees during the election years of 2018–19 were analyzed. Together with comments that are classified under categories of hate speech and discriminative rhetoric, a significant number of sarcastic comments were also detected by critical discourse analysis. It is observed that sarcasm is instrumentalized to reproduce superiority over refugees as well as criticizing official policies. Such comments cannot simply be considered as “innocent jokes” and are indeed part of a vicious cycle of violence and function like hate speech and discriminatory rhetoric.



refugees, Turkey, social media, discourse analysis, hate speech, sarcasm, disinformation

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