The National Science Foundation (NSF) is financing the creation of a system for the “automatic detection” of cyberbullying.
The project was awarded to Rutgers University. The real-time, automatic detection of hurtful online speech is necessary, according to the NSF grant, because cyberbullying is a “critical social problem.” The grant said 40 percent of American teenagers have reported being cyberbullied.
“This project aims to define new approaches for automatic detection of cyberbullying by integrating the relevant research in social sciences and computer science,” the grant said.
The project will involve searching for keywords and studying the relationships between teenagers who send and receive mean online messages.
“Specifically, this research will advance the state of the art in cyberbullying detection beyond textual analysis by also giving due attention to the social relationships in which these bullying messages are exchanged,” the grant said. “A higher accuracy at detection would allow for better mitigation of the cyberbullying phenomenon and may help improve the lives of thousands of victims who are cyberbullied each year,” it said.
The project hopes to employ “social intervention mechanisms” to prevent cyberbullying. Data on cyberbullying will also “be made available to the larger research community.”
The project begins in July and is set to last through June 2017.