Malaysia sees rise in hateful tweets, according to AI tracker made to counter hate speech

·2-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, June 21 — The number of hateful tweets has increased over the past three months, says data from Artificial Intelligence (AI) prototype #TrackerBenci, created by The Centre in early January, this year.

The data was gathered by The Centre, a body of experts who research and advocate for progressive and practical policy ideas, with the aim of raising awareness about the importance of self-regulating and rebutting hate speech, and shared with the Content Forum, an independent self-regulatory industry organisation under the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).

“In March, #TrackerBenci recorded 2,740 tweets identified as hateful and this figure rose to 3,088 in April and went down slightly to 3,004 in May,” a statement released by GO Communications on the behalf of the Content Forum said.

“34 per cent of the terms and/or phrases recorded by the tracker system have been identified as potentially hateful.”

Chief Executive Officer of The Centre Khairil Izamin Ahmad said that part of the effort to counter hate speech was invested in a resource centre through which the public can learn about local common cyber hate speech trends.

“Creating awareness about the dangers of hate speech is an essential step towards countering hate speech effectively,” he said.

The centre’s website also has a Benci Calculator, which content creators may use to check whether a phrase contains hateful speech and if so, what type of hate speech it is.

The statement from the Content Forum defined hate speech as: “any portrayal of words, speech or pictures that aims to defame, denigrate or otherwise devalue a person or group on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, gender, sexual orientation or disability”.

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed June 18 as the first observation for the International Day for Countering Hate Speech as a measure to promote tolerance amongst rising incidences of hate speech online.

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