Yahoo Has a Tool that Can Catch Online Abuse Surprisingly Well

Will Knight, MIT Technology Review, Jul 28, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Interestingly, the term 'surprisingly well' in the headline still means 'far from perfect'. The Yahoo tool uses keywords and word phrases to catch abusive emails, but finds it difficult to go deeper. “The language of abuse is amorphous—changing frequently and often used in ways that do not connote abuse, such as when racially or sexually charged terms are appropriated by the groups they once denigrated. Given 10 tweets, a group of humans will rarely all agree on which ones should be classed as abusive, so you can imagine how difficult it would be for a computer.”

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