Research examines fake news, hate speech and 4chan

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Research examines fake news, hate speech and 4chan

Post by Deadpool on Sun Jun 11, 2017 5:20 am

The "fringe" alt-right movement using the politically incorrect board on 4chan have a "surprising level of influence" elsewhere.



Cybercrime researchers have turned their attention to 4chan, considered "one of the darkest corners of the internet".

Gianluca Stringhini's team, which is based at University College London, has published two papers exploring how hate speech and fake news are spread around the internet.

In an interview with the Nature journal, Dr Stringhini said the team focused on 4chan, which was founded in 2003 and has since "emerged as one of the most impactful generators of online culture" over the past decade.

The researchers said that the site has provided a highly visible platform to movements such as Anonymous and the alt-right ideology.

But "although it has also led to positive actions (e.g., catching animal abusers), it is generally considered one of the darkest corners of the internet, filled with hate speech, pornography, trolling, and even murder confessions".

Of particular interest to the researchers was /pol/, the politically incorrect discussion board, "which is where most alt-right users gather and discuss their world views."

The activity on the /pol/ board was compared to that on the sports board, known as /sp/. Other boards on the site are committed to discussing video games, and many to mature content.

Dr Stringhini told Sky News that the paper, titled Keks, Cucks, and God Emperor Trump, showed that there was a limit to addressing hate speech online when occurrences were considered as isolated incidents.

Instead, his team examined in detail the "raiding" behaviour of the /pol/ discussion board's users, and the continued growth of hate and extremism trends on social media, with mathematical models.

Using signal processing techniques, the researchers found that the peaks of commenting activity in YouTube videos occurred within the lifetime of a thread on /pol/, suggesting that the users are performing raids in an attempt to disrupt the YouTube community.

Dr Stringhini told Nature that people often advocated attacks against YouTube posters who advocated for political issues which went against their world view, including gender equality, feminism and tolerance.

The accounts of several "alt-right" figures who championed Donald Trump's bid for the White House were suspended by Twitter in 2016 for attacking those advocating similar values.

That move came a day after Twitter announced it would expand its "mute" option in a bid to tackle cyberbullying.

Dr Stringhini told Sky News that his team's work found that "scientifically, this isn't just popping up - it's an organised activity which we can follow to its origins".
http://news.sky.com/story/research-examines-fake-news-hate-speech-and-4chan-10910915
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