There is a direct link between the prevalence of social networks — specifically Facebook and Twitter — and hate crime.

That conclusion, from two recent papers by researchers at the University of Warwick, England, may not in itself require swift policy action. But the methods used to reach it could be used to answer other questions about the relationship between social media and the real world — such as how much Russia's Facebook and Twitter trolling affects election results.

In March, Karsten Mueller and Carlo Schwarz published a paper showing that hate crimes against Muslims have been concentrated in U.S. counties with high Twitter usage since President Donald Trump's election.