Expert Voice

Research from the Center for Technology and Society

The Center for Technology and Society (CTS) promotes research at the intersection of education, research, and advocacy. CTS research topics include civil rights in a digital environment; the function and role of social media in ensuring justice and fair treatment for all; balancing freedom of speech and public safety; “fake news” and computational propaganda; effective techniques to promote counterspeech and decrease cyber harassment; machine learning and hate speech; and uses and misuses of technology related to civic engagement, democratic participation, and reduction of bias and discrimination.

The Online Hate Index

The Online Hate Index (OHI) is a joint initiative of ADL’s Center for Technology and Society and the University of California at Berkeley’s D-Lab. Combining a constantly-evolving mechanism based on artificial intelligence and machine learning, and a social science methodology applied by a team of human coders, the OHI will ultimately uncover and identify trends and patterns in hate speech across different online platforms.

The OHI project has completed its first phase of research. In this phase, the OHI algorithm has started to learn the difference between hate speech and other kinds of speech, laying the foundation to help solve a problem that has been inadequately addressed through traditional content moderation. The ultimate goal is to develop an efficient way to determine what is and what isn’t hate speech online, and then scale the method to help the tech community understand this pressing concern.

Our innovation brief detailing the first research phase of the project is available.

Hate in Social VR

This innovative report from the Center for Technology and Society focuses on the emergent medium of Social Virtual Reality (or Social VR), detailing its current uses, its promises, and its perils — and what we can learn from other related media to ensure that Social VR becomes a force for good, instead of becoming another online space that fosters hate.

Task Force on Hate Speech and Journalism

ADL blue-ribbon Task Force on Hate Speech and Journalism analyzed the harassment of journalists on Twitter during the 2016 presidential election. Our four-month investigation detailed a troubling, year-long rise in anti-Semitic hate against reporters from all sides of the political spectrum during campaign. Based on the findings, CTS put together 25 recommendations for industry, policymakers and the government, the legal community, journalists, and the public to reverse the surge in harassment on social media and other online channels.