Online hate in the form of trolling and cyber bullying has a grave impact on people. Some people have even taken their own lives because of such behaviour. Consequently, it comes as no surprise that prestigious institutions have started studying this subject matter.
Search giant Google has teamed up with researchers at Cardiff University’s School of Social Sciences and the School of Computer Science & Informatics in order to gain a better understanding of hate speech on popular websites like Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.
The initiative aims to unravel the social media ecosystem by looking at the complex relationship between user behaviour, flows of information and communication networks and how this can create socially abhorrent content.
“This is an innovative project that will generate computational social scientific insight into antagonistic online behaviour,” said Dr William Housley, the lead researcher and a Sociology Professor at Cardiff School of Social Sciences.
The project will also study the balance between self-identity, community, social cohesion, economy and culture, as well as freedom of speech during the digital age.
“Policy makers, commercial providers and relevant agencies require empirical data and social scientific interpretation in order to shape policy formulation, intervention and inform wider debates about the emerging contours, rights and obligations of digital citizenship in a 21st century democracy,” he added.
This project is important because people sometimes forget that social media is a form of communication where other human beings exist at both ends.