First Workshop on Trolling, Aggression and Cyberbullying

TRAC – 1

In the last few years, the field has witnessed a gradual shift from largely static, read-only web to quickly expanding user-generated web. There has been an exponential growth in the availability and use of online platforms where users can post their own content. A major part of these platforms include social media websites and apps, blogs, Q&A forums and several similar platforms. All of these are almost exclusively user-generated websites. As such they change and expand at a very rapid pace. In addition to this, most of the traditionally read-only web have started to give an option to the readers to interact with the website (and its host) as well as the other users, by posting their comments and replying to the comments of other users.

In all of these platforms and forums, humongous amount of data is created and circulated every minute. It has been estimated that there has been an increase of approximately 25% in the number of tweets per minutes and 22% increase in the number of Facebook posts per minute in the last 3 years. It is posited that approximately 500 million tweets are sent per day, 4.3 billion Facebook messages are posted and more than 200 million emails are sent each day, and approximately 2 million new blog posts are created daily over the web [Source: https://www.gwava.com/blog/internet-data-created-daily] . There is no such a thing as a ‘consolidated figure’ of the number of comments and opinion generated on websites worldwide, but it can be safely assumed that such a figure would be staggering.

As the number of people and this interaction over the web has increased, incidents of aggression and related activities like trolling, cyberbullying, flaming, hate speech, etc. have also increased manifold across the globe. The reach and extent of Internet has given such incidents unprecedented power and influence to affect the lives of billions of people. It has been reported that such incidents of online aggression and abuse have not only created mental and psychological health issues for web users, but they have in fact forced many people to change things in their daily lives, spanning deactivating accounts to instances of self-harm and suicide. Thus, incidents of online aggressive behaviour have become a major source of social conflict, with a potential of forming criminal activity. Therefore, it is a timely task for researchers and stakeholders to create preventive measures to safeguard the interests of web users, and to contribute to the maintenance of the civility of the online space in a more general sense.

This workshop focusses on the phenomena of online aggression, trolling, cyberbullying and other related phenomena, in both text (especially social media) and speech. The organisers aim to create a platform for academic discussions on this phenomena, based on previous joint work that they have done as part of a project funded by the British Council. We are particularly interested in promoting conversations dedicated to the automatic detection of aggression in both speech and text, that is, we hope that our workshop will not only be purely academic by nature but it will also generate real-life solutions to tackle the phenomena studied.