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What Makes Hate Speech : an interactive workshop


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Hate speech is language intended to cause harm against a particular individual or group, often based on their racial, ethnic, religious, or gender identity. Hate speech is widespread on social media, and is increasingly common in mainstream political discourse. That said, there is no clear consensus as to what constitutes hate speech. In addition, human moderators come with their own biases, and automatic computer algorithms are often easy to fool. All of these factors complicate the efforts of social media platforms to filter or reduce such content. During this interactive workshop we will discuss examples from Twitter in the hopes of reaching some consensus as to what is and is not hate speech. We will also try to determine what kind of knowledge a human moderator or an automatic algorithm would need to have in order to make this determination. We will try to avoid particularly graphic examples of hate speech and focus on more subtle cases.

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What Makes Hate Speech : an interactive workshop

  1. 1. What Makes Hate Speech An interactive workshop March 4, 2020 - UMD Summit on Equity, Race, and Diversity Ted Pedersen Department of Computer Science University of Minnesota, Duluth @SeeTedTalk
  2. 2. About Me ● Computer Science Professor at UMD since 1999 ○ (today’s slides) ● Research in NLP on automatically identifying the … ○ Meaning of words & phrases in text ○ Sentiment of a text ○ Intent of an author (?) ● Recent research problems have included identifying ... ○ Computational Humor ○ Offensive Language ○ Hate Speech (our focus today) ○ Islamophobia
  3. 3. Interactive means we ask and answer (?) questions ● What is hate speech? ● How do we recognize hate speech? ● Can automatic methods identify hate speech? ● What do we do about hate speech?
  4. 4. What is Hate Speech? ● Our ideas...
  5. 5. YouTube Hate Speech policy ● Immigration Status ● Religion ● Sex/Gender ● Sexual Orientation ● Victims of a major violent event and their kin ● Veteran Status If you find content that violates this policy, please report it. Instructions for reporting violations of our Community Guidelines are available here. If you find many videos, comments, or a creator's entire channel that you wish to report, visit our reporting tool. Hate speech is not allowed on YouTube. We remove content promoting violence or hatred against individuals or groups based on any of the following attributes: ● Age ● Caste ● Disability ● Ethnicity ● Gender Identity and Expression ● Nationality ● Race
  6. 6. Twitter Hateful Conduct policy Hateful conduct : You may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, caste, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease. We also do not allow accounts whose primary purpose is inciting harm towards others on the basis of these categories. Hateful imagery and display names: You may not use hateful images or symbols in your profile image or profile header. You also may not use your username, display name, or profile bio to engage in abusive behavior, such as targeted harassment or expressing hate towards a person, group, or protected category.
  7. 7. Facebook Hate Speech policy We define hate speech as a direct attack on people based on what we call protected characteristics — race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, caste, sex, gender, gender identity, and serious disease or disability. We also provide some protections for immigration status. We define attack as violent or dehumanizing speech, statements of inferiority, or calls for exclusion or segregation. We separate attacks into three tiers of severity, as described below.
  8. 8. Dangerous Speech Any form of expression (e.g., speech, text, or images) that can increase the risk that its audience (in-group) will condone or commit violence against members of another group (out-group). Dangerous speech is : ● Aimed at groups (or individuals who are seen as members of a group) ● Promotes fear ● Is often false ● Harms directly and indirectly
  9. 9. Examples A series of examples from twitter follows. I’ve tried to be careful in these selections but realize that different kinds of content is potentially hurtful and offensive to different people in different ways. The intent of the examples is to generate discussion about what is hate speech (or not).
  10. 10. How do we recognize hate speech? ● Our ideas …
  11. 11. How do we recognize hate speech? ● Dehumanizing ○ Biologically subhuman, vermin, biological threat, environmental catastrophe ○ Supernaturally strong ● Accusation in a mirror ○ Attribute to your “enemies” the acts which you wish to perpetrate on them ● Threat to Group Purity or Integrity ○ Out-group as a target ● Assertions of Attack against Women & Girls ○ Defiled by members of out-group ● Question of Loyalty
  12. 12. Can automatic methods identify hate speech? ● Need manually classified examples of hate speech that Artificial Intelligence algorithms can learn from ○ Training data ○ These are hard to reliably create ● Training data teaches you about what has already happened ● New manifestations of hate arise which are not in training data ○ Coronavirus ● Blacklists and rule based systems reflect human insight on hate speech ● Hate speech can be profane, but not always ○ Hard to distinguish between profanity and hate speech ○ In-group use of profanity or slurs is often not hate speech ● Blacklists easy to trick with misspellings, typos ○ Eye will k1ll ewe ● Algorithms in general don’t recognize hate speech that doesn’t include profanity or obvious slurs
  13. 13. What should we do about hate speech? ● Our ideas...
  14. 14. What should we do about hate speech? ● Protect Privacy ● Ignore ● Report ● Block ● Expose ● Engage ● Counter Speech ● Stay Online
  15. 15. Why be concerned? ● Hate speech creates a negative environment online ○ ● Hate speech online escalates to violence in the “real world” ○ ● Hate speech is a prerequisite to genocide ○ ○ Rwanda : ○ Myanmar : ○ Nazi Germany :
  16. 16. Resources ● Dangerous Speech Project ○ ● Hate Watch - Southern Poverty Law Center ○ ● Free Speech Debate ○ ● Automatic Approaches (algorithms) ○ ○ ○ ● These slides ○