DoubleVerify Study: Online Hate Speech Tripled Following the Capitol Riot on January 6th

New research on harmful online content also finds a surge in misleading Covid vaccine stories after November 9th

NEW YORK, February 19, 2021  — DoubleVerify (“DV”), a leading software platform for digital media measurement, data and analytics, today announced the release of a report titled, Content and Controversy: The News Trends of 2020 that Will Influence Brand Safety and Suitability in 2021.” 

In the report, DV has examined 2020’s content trends relative to the U.S. Presidential Election, the coronavirus pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement for racial justice to better understand the relationship between controversy and disinformation. The insights will help brands protect themselves from appearing on sites and apps with harmful content in 2021 and diminish the financial incentives for production of misleading content — while supporting trusted news and a healthy information ecosystem.

According to DV’s analysis, inflammatory and misleading news increased 83%, year-over-year, during this past November and the U.S. Presidential Election. Websites hosting this content, therefore, stood to collect nearly double the ad revenue from unprotected advertisers than they did last year.

Key events DV analyzed include:

  • The Capitol riot — Content related to hate speech tripled in the 10 days following the Capitol riot compared with the 10 days preceding the riot. During the week of January 10th, in the wake of the Capitol riot, the volume of inflammatory politics and news content increased 21% week-over-week.
  • Misleading vaccine stories — DV saw a 400% increase in inflammatory news stories with “coronavirus vaccine”-related keywords in the URL over the three weeks following Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine announcement when compared with the month preceding news of the vaccine.
  • Black Lives Matter movement growth — During the two months following George Floyd’s death, DV saw the rate of content related to hate speech nearly triple compared with May 2020. Notably, the highest spike in content related to hate speech occured on June 17th, the same day the Atlanta Police Department fired Garret Rolfe, the officer who shot Rayshard Brooks outside a Wendy’s, and two days before the 155th celebration of Juneteenth.

DoubleVerify analyzes billions of impressions a day to help keep brands safe from appearing alongside unsafe and unsuitable content. Publishers promoting misinformation, extremist political views and racially biased claims are classified into DV’s “Inflammatory Politics and News” and “Hate Speech and Cyberbullying” categories, respectively. These category classifications allow advertisers to protect their brand reputation and ensure their ad dollars do not inadvertently fund bad-faith actors. DV is able to track the scale of these categories through its category rates, which serve as a proxy for traffic.

To see DoubleVerify’s full report, visit

About DoubleVerify
DoubleVerify is a leading software platform for digital media measurement, data and analytics. DV’s mission is to be the definitive source of transparency and data-driven insights into the quality and effectiveness of digital advertising for the world’s largest brands, publishers and digital ad platforms. DV’s technology platform provides advertisers with consistent and unbiased data and analytics that can be used to optimize the quality and return on digital ad investments. Since 2008, DV has helped hundreds of Fortune 500 companies gain the most from their media spend by delivering best in class solutions across the digital advertising ecosystem, helping to build a better industry. Learn more at