Hacking against hate speech

International Alert has kicked off its 2016 #peacehack series with an event in The Hague that focused on using technology to counter online hate speech.

An ideas session was run as part of the Big Data for Peace and Justice Summer School, run by the University of Leiden and the Centre for Innovation, where leading innovators and thinkers were invited to discuss their ideas for harnessing the power of the data revolution build a safer and fairer world.

Alert ran a four-hour “lite” version of our #peacehack initiative which invites technologists and peacebuilders to come together to create solutions for building peace.

The aim was to come up with concepts and ideas which can be integrated into future #peacehack events later this year, including those taking place in Zurich (9-11 September) and London (30 September – 2 October).

Participants formulated an impressive range of ideas for this mini hackathon, especially given the time constraints. The winning one was “Comments hate speech” – an automated approval platform that enables web comments to be analysed for hate speech before being approved and hateful comments to be actioned by administrators.

The other ideas to emerge were:

  • Words count: A targeted messaging campaign to counter hate speech, identifying current trends and demographics to shape outreach.
  • City of Love: An app which uses publicly accessible data streams (for example Twitter) to identify the level of hate speech in your local area, and presents options to link up with community groups to report these cases of abuse.
  • Love first: An algorithm for comments in online news media, which sorts and weights positive comments to make them “float” more to the top of threads.
  • MeowNow: A bot which uses Hatebase data to detect hate speech and automatically insert posts with counter messages.
  • Hate speech decision engine: Detects hate speech using machine learning, then categorises and responds to it accordingly with pre-determined messages.

Watch the video of all the pitches below and pick your winner.

Want to hack for peace with us?

We are looking for participants and supporters to get involved in future #peacehack events, including two upcoming ones:

You can also join the conversation on Twitter by following us @intalert and using the hashtag #peacehack.