This is cross-disciplinary research project cross the humanities and science with significant ICLS faculty involvement. In June 2017, this project was awarded the Arts & Sciences Catalyst Grant at Columbia University.

Harassment in the cyberspace is a major problem. Over 72 percent of US internet users have witnessed online harassment and almost half (47 percent) have personally experienced it. Furthermore, women, LGBTQIA and people of color are more likely to be victims of online harassment. Current solutions from strict guidelines prohibiting such behavior to moderators to tools to report abusive behavior or block individuals from interacting with them have not worked to create a civil online public square. What we need is a robust online public square that can effectively balance freedom of expression and civility to fellow citizens. To that end, we propose to develop dynamic filters and other tools geared to reducing abusive content in dialogue with the community’s need to reduce online harassment. This project will be led by Columbia University faculty in Comparative Literature, Journalism, and the Natural Language Processing group and work with communities as well as partners such as Google’s Jigsaw group.

Principle investigators:

Julia B. Hirschberg (Computer Science)

Kathleen McKeown (Computer Science/DSI)

Tian Zheng (Computer Science)

Lydia H. Liu (EALAC/ICLS)

Madeleine Dobie (French/ICLS)

Susan E McGregor (Journalism)

David W. Riordan (Brown Institute)