The aim was to identify hate speech targeted at minorities and people in a vulnerable position.
During the municipal elections in spring 2017, a group of researchers and practitioners specialising in computer science, media and communication implemented a hate speech identification campaign with the help of an algorithm based on machine learning.
At the beginning of the campaign, the algorithm was taught to identify hate speech as diversely as possible, for example, based on the big data obtained from open chat groups. The algorithm learned to compare computationally what distinguishes a text that includes hate speech from a text that is not hate speech and to develop a categorisation system for hate speech. The algorithm was then used daily to screen all openly available content the candidates standing in the municipal elections had produced on Facebook and Twitter. The candidates’ account information were gathered using the material in the election machine of the Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle.