Reducing exposure to hateful speech online

Jack Bowker, Jacques Ophoff*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


It has been observed that regular exposure to hateful content online can reduce levels of empathy in individuals, as well as affect the mental health of targeted groups. Research shows that a significant number of young people fall victim to hateful speech online. Unfortunately, such content is often poorly controlled by online platforms, leaving users to mitigate the problem by them-selves. It’s possible that Machine Learning and browser extensions could be used to identify hateful content and assist users in reducing their exposure to hate speech online. A proof-of-concept extension was developed for the Google Chrome web browser, using both a local word blocker and a cloud-based mod-el, to explore how effective browser extensions could be in identifying and managing exposure to hateful speech online. The extension was evaluated by 124 participants regarding the usability and functionality of the extension, to gauge the feasibility of this approach. Users responded positively on the usability of the extension, as well as giving feedback regarding where the proof-of-concept could be improved. The research demonstrates the potential for a browser extension aimed at average users to reduce individuals’ exposure to hateful speech online, using both word blocking and cloud-based Machine Learning techniques.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntelligent Computing
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 2022 Computing Conference
EditorsKohei Arai
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9783031104671
ISBN (Print)9783031104664
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2022
EventComputing Conference 2022 - Virtual, United Kingdom
Duration: 14 Jul 202215 Jul 2022

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Networks and Systems
ISSN (Print)2367-3370
ISSN (Electronic)2367-3389


ConferenceComputing Conference 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • Hate speech
  • Machine learning
  • Browser extension


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