Funding boost for research to develop methods of combating online hate speech

A new Keele study will bring together media and computer science experts to investigate new strategies for combating online hate speech, after researchers received a funding boost.

Professor Elizabeth Poole and Dr Eva Giraud, from Keele’s Media department in the School of Humanities, will work alongside Dr Ed de Quincey from the School of Computing and Mathematics on the study, which has received £415,968 from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Their study will involve analysing the content of Twitter and mainstream news sources, as well as interviews with key activists involved in the circulation of and opposition to Islamophobic hate speech, in order to better understand the dynamics of both pro- and anti-Muslim online activism.

By studying Twitter hashtag campaigns and news coverage to assess how certain voices and campaigns gain dominance in the media, the researchers hope to develop a better understanding of how hate speech gains visibility, in order to identify key challenges and useful strategies for contesting such hate speech.

Lead author Professor Poole said: “We are really pleased to receive this funding at such a timely moment when digital media provides an outlet for rising Islamophobia in the context of recent socio-political events and changes."

Dr Ed de Quincey added: “We are really pleased that this will be a solid example of interdisciplinary research with impact in both subject areas.”