Countering online hate speech through technological interventions

Project Synopsis

Title: Countering online hate speech through technological interventions.

The spread of hate speech in digital spaces such as social media platforms and comment sections on news websites remains a significant problem and contributes to the polarisation of society and the normalisation of hate in online interactions. My PhD project takes a proactive approach to counter this problem by developing a technological intervention to prevent hate speech. This intervention shall complement existing ones, which are mostly aimed at bystanders or victims, by specifically addressing the perpetrators of online hate. In the first stage of the project, I have investigating risk factor that drive users to post hate speech. Building on these insights and input from co-design workshops, I will develop an intervention prototype. This prototype will be tested in regard to user acceptance and efficacy in lab and field studies and analysed from a human rights perspective. 

host institution
partner organization(s)
early stage researcher

ESR6 Ina Weber, PhD Candidate at University of Antwerp

supervisor(s)

Prof. Heidi Vandebosch, University of Antwerp, cyberbullying, technological health interventions

Prof. Karolien Poels, University of Antwerp, persuasive technology, strategic communication

Dr. Sara Pabian, Tilburg University, online aggression, online persuasive communication

Outputs

SCIENTIFIC PUBLICATIONS

Weber, I., Vandebosch, H., Poels, K., & Pabian, S. (2024). The ecology of online hate speech: Mapping expert perspectives on the drivers for online hate perpetration with the Delphi method. Aggressive Behavior50(2), e22136. https://doi.org/10.1002/ab.22136. Open Access available from February 2025 onwards (12-month embargo) here: https://hdl.handle.net/10067/2031740151162165141

Weber, I., Vandebosch, H., Poels, K., & Pabian, S. (2023). Features for Hate? Using the Delphi Method to Explore Digital Determinants for Online Hate Perpetration and Possibilities for Intervention. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networkinghttps://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2022.0195. Open Access: https://repository.uantwerpen.be/docman/irua/e4880e.pdf

PUBLIC OUTREACH

*contested asterisks* – A deeper look at toxic narratives in social media posts about gender-inclusive language in Germany. A blogpost by Ina Weber (2023, March, 28) for the European Observatory of Online Hate (EOOH), https://eooh.eu/articles/contested-asterisks  

ACADEMIC CONFERENCES

Weber, I., Vandebosch, H., Pabian, S., & Poels, K. (2024, February  8-9).It’s ok as long as it’s moral? Analyzing acceptance of uncivil comments in moralized online discussions about gender diversity and inclusivity.Etmaal 2024, Rotterdam, The  Netherlands, https://www.eur.nl/en/eshcc/research/etmaal-2024

Weber, I., Vandebosch, H., Pabian, S., & Poels, K. (2023, February 2-3). Controversial Debates –  a study of intolerant uncivil participation in online discussions [Research Escalator Conference Presentation]. Etmaal 2023, Enschede, The Netherlands, https://www.etmaal2023.net

Weber, I., Vandebosch, H., Pabian, S., & Poels, K. (2022, October 24-28). Ask the experts: Applying the Delphi method to determine risk factors and create an ecological model of online hate perpetration [Conference Presentation]. ICA Annual Conference 2022, Paris, France, https://www.icahdq.org/page/ICA2022

Weber, I., Vandebosch, H., Pabian, S., & Poels, K. (2022, September  10-15). What makes haters hate: A Delphi Study and Ecological Model on Risk Factors for Online Hate Perpetration [Conference Presentation]. DGPS Congress 2022, Hildesheim, Germany, https://www.uni-hildesheim.de/dgps2022/  

Weber, I., Vandebosch, H., Pabian, S., & Poels, K. (2022, May  26-30). Ask the experts: Applying the Delphi method to determine risk factors and create an ecological model of online hate perpetration [Conference Presentation]. ICA Annual Conference 2022, Paris, France, https://www.icahdq.org/page/ICA2022 

Weber, I., Vandebosch, H., Pabian, S., & Poels, K. (2021, November 1-3). Discussing expert perspectives on technological interventions to prevent online aggression [Conference Presentation]. World Anti-Bullying Forum, Stockholm, Sweden, https://worldantibullyingforum.com/previous-forums/wabf-2021/