Call them the cyberbully detectives: Researchers at CU Boulder have designed a new technique for spotting nasty personal attacks on social media networks like Instagram.
The new approach, developed by the CyberSafety Research Center, is a response to a pernicious online problem that has been linked to the suicides of multiple teenagers in recent years. The method combines several different computing tools to scan massive amounts of social media data, sending alerts to parents or network administrators that abuse has occurred.
It’s rocket fast, too: In recently published research, the group reported that their approach uses five times less computing resources than existing tools. That’s efficient enough to monitor a network the size of Instagram for a modest investment in server power, said study co-author Richard Han.
He and his colleagues hope that social media companies will take note, implementing the team’s toolset in their own networks. Han compared the prevalence of cyberbullying to the spread of fake news on social media, which Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke to European leaders about in May.
“The response of the social media networks to fake news has recently started to uptick, even though it took grave consequences to reach that point,” said Han, an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science. “The response needs to be just as strong for cyberbullying.”
The group also released a free app for Android phones that allows parents to receive alerts when their kids are the objects of bullying on Instagram. Study co-author Shivakant Mishra said that the app, called BullyAlert, is a valuable tool because it can learn from and adapt to what parents consider bullying.
“As a parent, I know that a lot of times we are not in full knowledge of what our children are doing on their social networks,” said Mishra, a professor in Computer Science. “An app like this that informs us when something problematic is happening is invaluable.”
Building these sorts of resources, however, is a technical challenge—akin to finding a toxic needle in a very large haystack.
Mishra explained that users have posted 40 billion photos and videos to Instagram since its launch in 2010. As a result, “we want to be able to process as many posts as possible as fast as possible,” he said. “But at the same time, we don’t want our accuracy to go down.”
To keep that balance, the CyberSafety team first employed real humans to teach a computer program how to separate benign online comments (“Love you!”) from abuse (“You suck.”)
Next, the researchers designed a system that works a bit like hospital triage. When a user uploads a new post—say, a photo of a new pasta recipe—the group’s tools make a quick scan of the comments. If those comments look questionable, then that post gets high priority to receive further checks. But if the comments all seem charitable, then the system bumps the post to the bottom of its queue.
“Our goal is to focus on the most vulnerable sessions,” Han said. “We still continue to monitor all of the sessions, but we monitor more frequently those sessions that we think are more problematic.”
And it works: The researchers tested their approach on real-world data from Vine, a now-defunct video-sharing platform, and Instagram, which is especially popular among younger Internet surfers. Han explained that the team picked those networks because they make their data publicly available.
In research presented at a conference in April, the group calculated that their toolset could monitor traffic on Vine and Instagram in real-time, detecting cyberbullying behavior with 70 percent accuracy. What’s more, the approach could also send up warning flags within two hours after the onset of abuse—a performance unmatched by currently available software.
Han said that social media companies have no excuse not to implement such approaches for monitoring cyberbullying. He explained that online harassment can be more dangerous than schoolyard bullying because it can reach kids anywhere, even in their own homes.
The message to social media companies is that “people are abusing your networks to spread fake news, but also they’re also hurting kids,” Han said. “All of us need to do better to protect the kids.”
The Latest on: Monitoring cyberbullying
[google_news title=”” keyword=”monitoring cyberbullying” num_posts=”10″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]
via Google News
The Latest on: Monitoring cyberbullying
- NHS trust issues apology after culture report highlights bullying concernson September 27, 2023 at 10:30 am
More than half of employees surveyed online said they had felt bullied or harassed in the workplace at the University Hospitals Birmingham trust.
- Councillors powerless to sack 'bullying' colleague threaten to resignon September 27, 2023 at 7:01 am
Emotional Hughenden Parish councillors have threatened to resign and vented their frustration at being unable to sack a colleague who ...
- Six Weeks After Deployment, Brandenburg Telecom Grows Bark Offering To Help Protect 3X More Kentucky Families From Social Media Harmon September 26, 2023 at 2:30 pm
Calix, Inc. (NYSE: CALX) announced today that Brandenburg Telecom (Brandenburg) is growing their Bark social media monitoring offering to help protect ...
- Hays USD 489 board hears concerns about private bathrooms at new high schoolon September 26, 2023 at 10:05 am
The bathrooms were discussed by the board on April 10. The school board has had updates on the progress of the high school design throughout the design work, the latest on Sept. 18. The school board ...
- Reps honour Mohbad, resolves to monitor ongoing probeon September 26, 2023 at 5:41 am
The House of Representatives on Tuesday held a one-minute silence to honour the late Afrobeat singer, Ilerioluwa Aloba, known as Mohbad. The minute silence was observed following a motion of urgent ...
- What counts as workplace bullying?on September 26, 2023 at 1:52 am
Employers must try to protect staff from bullying in the workplace, but sometimes it is hard to know what to do about the problem. Dominic Raab has resigned as Deputy Prime Minister after a report ...
- Britain proposes diversity and misconduct rules for financial firmson September 25, 2023 at 4:15 am
Britain's financial regulators proposed guidance on Monday for financial firms to tackle sexual harassment and bullying, along with new requirements for large banks and insurers to set targets to ...
- The Unforgivable Mistakes Schools Make in Addressing Bullyingon September 25, 2023 at 3:10 am
Empower students to intervene when they witness bullying, provided it is safe to do so. This could involve standing up for the victim, reporting the incident, or seeking help from an adult. Regularly ...
- Office worker forced out of job by bullying is awarded over €40,000 at WRCon September 22, 2023 at 9:00 am
A bookkeeper who was forced to quit over “intolerable” bullying by a senior colleague at an engineering firm – along with unlawful deductions from her pay – has secured orders totalling over €40,000 ...
via Bing News