Sabancı University Center of Excellence in Data Analytics (VERİM) qualifies for support within the framework of EuropeAid - Innovative Media for Peace, Social Cohesion and Reconciliation in Turkey, the Middle-East and North Africa, for a project in which it will act as a researcher institution.
Implemented by the Hrant Dink Foundation, and including Sabancı University VERİM and Boğaziçi University as researcher institutions, the project is entitled “Utilizing Digital Technology for Social Cohesion, Positive Messaging and Peace by Boosting Collaboration, Exchange and Solidarity.”
Berrin Yanıkoğlu and Reyyan Yeniterzi from the Computer Science and Engineering Program of the Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences (FENS) and Ayşecan Terzioğlu from the Cultural Studies Program of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences are involved in the project as researchers. The project aims to detect and decrease hate speech and disinformation in social media automatically through interdisciplinary and collaborative work.
Talking about the importance of the project, Berrin Yanıkoğlu said, “I am happy about the multi-partner and inter-disciplinary aspect of the project and the fact that our research in the field of artificial intelligence will be used in a way to benefit society. Moreover, it is very pleasing that the interdisciplinary collaboration that was started between social sciences and VERİM for a similar project in the past continues to grow thanks to this project.”
Highlighting two important aspects of the project, Ayşecan Terzioğlu continued, “The first aspect is about better understanding the dimensions of hate speech, which prevents the creation of a healthy dialogue in social discussions, in order to find out how more inclusive and pluralistic dialogue can be established. The second aspect is that with this project we constitute a good example of academy-NGO collaboration by working together with Boğaziçi University and the Hrant Dink Foundation, which has worked extensively and published detailed reports on the causes and consequences of hate speech. Our path crossed with the Hrant Dink Foundation for the first time in 2020 on occasion of an international conference that the Foundation held about hate speech. I am very happy that we will collaborate with the Hrant Dink Foundation on this project.”
Pointing out the project’s intention to detect hate speech, an ever-growing issue worldwide, Reyyan Yeniterzi said, “In today’s world, where we observe increased use of social media, people are becoming more and more insensible to who will read content in social media and how the readers will perceive what they read. This project is important because it aims to detect hate speech, which is becoming more and more widespread in every society. We are excited by the fact that we will detect hate speech with artificial intelligence tools and that the latest technology will be used for social benefits. We will try to create social awareness about hate speech through the tools and sites that we plan to develop with Boğaziçi University and the Hrant Dink Foundation, believing the issue to be a sensitive and important one.”