Anatomy of Online Hate: Developing a Taxonomy and Machine Learning Models for Identifying and Classifying Hate in Online News Media

Online social media platforms generally attempt to mitigate hateful expressions, as these comments can be detrimental to the health of the community. However, automatically identifying hateful comments can be challenging. We manually label 5,143 hateful expressions posted to YouTube and Facebook videos among a dataset of 137,098 comments from an online news media. We then create a granular taxonomy of different types and targets of online hate and train machine learning models to automatically detect and classify the hateful comments in the full dataset. Our contribution is twofold: 1) creating a granular taxonomy for hateful online comments that includes both types and targets of hateful comments, and 2) experimenting with machine learning, including Logistic Regression, Decision Tree, Random Forest, Adaboost, and Linear SVM, to generate a multiclass, multilabel classification model that automatically detects and categorizes hateful comments in the context of online news media. We find that the best performing model is Linear SVM, with an average F1 score of 0.79 using TF-IDF features. We validate the model by testing its predictive ability, and, relatedly, provide insights on distinct types of hate speech taking place on social media.

Tags: Adaboost, classification model, Decision Tree, Facebook, Hate Speech, Linear SVM, Logistic Regression, Random Forest, Social Media, YouTube