The haters on social media are unsuspected that they lose their demeanor on the web

From a study on “Scientific Reports” resulting from the analysis of researchers at the Ca ‘Foscari University of Venice, in collaboration with Agcom and Jozef Stefan Institute of Ljubljana, on one million comments on Covid-19 videos published on Youtube, it emerges that often the haters on the web are unsuspected people who lose control in some contests.

Keyboard lions

The research found that only 32% of the comments classified as violent were removed from the platform or by the author one year after publication. On the other hand, it provides useful data for strategies to understand and stem the phenomenon. Among the 345 thousand authors of the comments analyzed, the study did not identify any real “keyboard lions” dedicated solely to sowing hatred. The insult is therefore not a drift that concerns a specific category of people. Many users, in certain contexts, become authors of “toxic” comments.

The algorithm

The coordinator of the team from Fabiana Zollo, researcher at Ca ‘Foscari, has developed a machine learning model capable of labeling each comment and classifying it as appropriate, inappropriate, offensive or violent, depending on the type of language used. it was possible to analyze a huge amount of content on the web. The research was carried out within the European IMSyPP project “Innovative Monitoring Systems and Prevention Policies of Online Hate Speech”, which started in March 2020 and has a duration of 2 years. The main objective of the project is to analyze the mechanisms that govern the formation and dissemination of hate speech online and the dissemination of data-driven proposals to counter their dissemination.