Hate speech operationalization: a preliminary examination of hate speech indicators and their structure

Papcunova, J.1, Martoncik, M.2, Fedakova, D.1, Kentos, M.1, Bozoganova, M.1, Srba, I., Moro, R., Pikuliak, M., Simko, M., Adamkovic, M.1

1 Institute of Social Sciences, CSPS, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Košice, Slovakia
2 Institute of Psychology, Faculty of Arts, University of Prešov, Prešov, Slovakia

Hate speech should be tackled and prosecuted based on how it is operationalized. However, the existing theoretical definitions of hate speech are not sufficiently fleshed out or easily operable. To overcome this inadequacy, and with the help of interdisciplinary experts, we propose an empirical definition of hate speech by providing a list of 10 hate speech indicators and the rationale behind them (the indicators refer to specific, observable, and measurable characteristics that offer a practical definition of hate speech). A preliminary exploratory examination of the structure of hate speech, with the focus on comments related to migrants (one of the most reported grounds of hate speech), revealed that two indicators in particular, denial of human rights and promoting violent behavior, occupy a central role in the network of indicators. Furthermore, we discuss the practical implications of the proposed hate speech indicators—especially (semi-)automatic detection using the latest natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML) methods. Having a set of quantifiable indicators could benefit researchers, human right activists, educators, analysts, and regulators by providing them with a pragmatic approach to hate speech assessment and detection.

Cite: Papcunová, J., Martončik, M., Fedáková, D. et al. Hate speech operationalization: a preliminary examination of hate speech indicators and their structure. Complex Intell. Syst. (2021). DOI: 10.1007/s40747-021-00561-0

Authors

Ivan Srba
Senior Researcher
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Róbert Móro
Senior Researcher
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Matúš Pikuliak
Junior Researcher
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Marián Šimko
Expert Researcher
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