The Leaders’ Debates were held this week, which contributed to a rise in activity on Twitter. Party leaders saw a jump in the number of Twitter mentions compared to weeks prior.

624,525 tweets analyzed

toxic icon

107,506 tweets identified as toxic

approximately 1 in 5 tweets were likely to be viewed as insulting, hostile or rude

Of total toxic tweets, 33,029 were identified as likely to include profanities or threatening language

Key Findings


  • Tuesday, September 7 saw the most online toxicity this week, when much was being reported about gravel being thrown at Justin Trudeau at a campaign stop. At 332,371 toxic tweets, this surpassed the previous toxicity record of 223,331 toxic tweets on Saturday, August 28.
  • Justin Trudeau continued to receive the largest number and proportion of toxic tweets of all candidates tracked, with 19% labelled likely to be toxic.
  • Erin O’Toole received more tweets than in previous weeks, but fewer were toxic, with 13% labelled likely to be toxic.
  • Similarly, Jagmeet Singh received significantly more tweets, with 13% labelled likely to be toxic. 
  • During the French Leaders’ Debate on September 8, there was no significant increase in the number of tweets sent.
  • During the English Leaders’ Debate on September 9, 25,219 tweets were sent to tracked candidates, of which 4,097 were labelled toxic.
  • Of the 624,525 tweets analyzed from Sunday, September 5 12:00 ET to Sunday, September 12 11:59 ET:
    • 37,191 were labelled as containing insults
    • 34,589 were labelled as containing threats
    • 19,152 were labelled as containing identity attacks
    • 18,210 were labelled as containing profanity
    • 15,780 were labelled as containing sexually explicit content

Unless otherwise stated, tweets sent from Sunday, September 5 12:00 ET to Sunday, September 12 11:59 ET were analyzed in this week’s report.

SAM is tracking 210 male incumbent candidates, including Justin Trudeau, Erin O’Toole and Jagmeet Singh, 88 female incumbent candidates, and two party leaders who did not have a seat in the last Parliament (Annamie Paul and Maxime Bernier). Review the full list.

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