Analyzing and learning the language for different types of harassment

Mohammadreza Rezvan, Saeedeh Shekarpour, Faisal Alshargi, Krishnaprasad Thirunarayan, Valerie L. Shalin, Amit Sheth

Disclaimer: This paper is concerned with violent online harassment. To describe the subject at an adequate level of realism, examples of our collected tweets involve violent, threatening, vulgar and hateful speech language in the context of racial, sexual, political, appearance and intellectual harassment. The presence of a significant amount of harassment in user-generated content and its negative impact calls for robust automatic detection approaches. This requires that we can identify different forms or types of harassment. Earlier work has classified harassing language in terms of hurtfulness, abusiveness, sentiment, and profanity. However, to identify and understand harassment more accurately, it is essential to determine the context that represents the interrelated conditions in which they occur. In this paper, we introduce the notion of contextual type to harassment involving five categories: (i) sexual, (ii) racial, (iii) appearance-related, (iv) intellectual and (v) political. We utilize an annotated corpus from Twitter distinguishing these types of harassment. To study the context for each type that sheds light on the linguistic meaning, interpretation, and distribution, we conduct two lines of investigation: an extensive linguistic analysis, and a statistical distribution of unigrams. We then build type-ware classifiers to automate the identification of type-specific harassment. Our experiments demonstrate that these classifiers provide competitive accuracy for identifying and analyzing harassment on social media. We present extensive discussion and major observations about the effectiveness of type-aware classifiers using a detailed comparison setup providing insight into the role of type-dependent features.

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