|Figure 1 : Over half of teens and adolescents experience cyberbullying.|
Twitter once called itself the “free-speech wing of the free-speech party” but recent years have seen a movement towards tighter control of what is posted on the platform, and other sites have followed suit. For example, Instagram recently implanted the DeepText algorithm already used by Facebook to clamp down on cyberbullying. The machine-learning algorithm is capable of analyzing thousands of posts and comments each second in order to detect. First introduced to tackle issues of spam, Instagram later decided to use the same technology to block offensive comments.
Linked to the subject of cyberbullying is the wider topic of hate speech. In response to the 2016 US election, where hate speech became a globally talked about issue, the nonprofit newsroom Propublica decided to act. They worked alongside the Google News Lab to develop the Documenting Hate News Index, which collates all news related to hate incidents. The site uses Google’s Natural Language API (a machine learning tool) to understand the news report’s nature and its intentions. At the time of writing, the “keyword” most talked about is Jacqueline Kent Cooke, who has just been charged with an anti-Semitic assault on New Year’s Eve.