This week, WIRED Magazine released an article covering KMI’s ongoing work about networked misogyny and misogynistic language online. WIRED reporters interviewed KMi researchers in response to a paper delivered at the WebSci19 conference (Sunday June 30th – Wednesday July 3rd, Boston, USA). Authors Tracie Farrell, Miriam Fernandez and Harith Alani, along with associated researcher Jakub Novotny, presented their paper “Exploring Misogyny Across the Manosphere in Reddit”.
The paper describes exploratory research, using feminist, sociological models of misogyny to create 9 lexicons of hate that refer to different types of misogynistic speech. These lexicons were used to identify the type and amount of misogynistic language found within 6 million posts, from 300K conversations crated between 2011 and December 2018, covering the full live of 7 different subreddits. The authors found that the use of misogynistic language and group membership are both increasing across the more “extreme” subreddits. In addition, they discovered that the type of misogynistic language is changing, with more hostility towards women and more focus on men as the victims of feminist ideology. The authors plan to take this work forward, focusing on networked misogyny and the potential for radicalisation online. The research was conducted as part of an existing EU funded project; Trivalent, which aims to better understand the root causes of the phenomenon of violent radicalisation.
The Wired article highlights the challenge of quantifying hate speech and exploring hate speech computationally, and promotes our work as an example of how we can evidence certain complex phenomena, and supporting other qualitative studies with data at scale.