Hate Speech Online

HateTrack: Tracking and Monitoring Racist Hate Speech Online

This article constitutes a big data study of Twitter during the peak of the so-called refugee crisis in the period between October 2015 and May 2016.

April 2021. The HateTrack Project is an experimental, exploratory research project that combines social, scientific and computational methods to understand online racist speech in the Irish context. The project used insights from civil society and experts in the field of race, racism and hate speech to build a computational tool that harvests and classifies Facebook and Twitter posts in terms of their probability to contain racially-loaded toxic contents.

The tool is designed as a monitoring and diagnostic tool of the state of the Irish digital public sphere. While it is currently focused on racially-toxic contents, it can be scaled to other forms of hate and toxicity, such as misogyny and homophobia. Using HateTrack, we generated a dataset which was subsequently analysed in terms of the toxic repertoires it contained, the communities targeted, the kinds of people posting, and the events that trigger racially-toxic contents. Finally, we held workshops with students to identify their views on reporting racist hate speech online.

Read or download the report here.

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