GESIS Training Courses

Scientific Coordination

Katrin Weller
Tel: +49 221 47694-472

Administrative Coordination

Christina Dahn

Conference on Harmful Online Communication (CHOC2023)

Cologne / Unter Sachsenhausen 6-8 & Online
Additional links

Course description

Harmful Online Communication refers to a variety of ongoing activities on communication platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, Telegram and many more. Independent of the platform, harm can, for example, occur in the form of hate speech towards different groups, including racist or sexist content. Harmful online communication can also include aspects of mis- and disinformation, or threats of physical violence. Depending on the type of content, different strategies may be needed to detect it and to apply appropriate counter measures. 
The aim of this conference is to bring together a group of experts in computer-based detection and analysis of harmful online communication to discuss new developments in the field. The focus will lie on theoretical concept definitions, data quality, and comparative measurement tools. This will benefit the field of harmful online communication studies by building a community around validity and reliability and creating a baseline that can inform the building of comparative research and shared knowledge. The output of the conference will inform the future work in Computational Social Sciences and help more traditional social scientists to improve their use of data from online platforms. 
Organized by:  Katrin Weller, Pascal Siegers, Indira Sen, Christina Dahn
The conference will be hybrid. The onsite part will take place at the GESIS Leibniz Institute of Social Sciences in Cologne.  
Unter Sachsenhausen 6-8 
50667 Köln 
How to participate:  
We have limited capacities for onsite participants. Priority will be given to participants who were selected in the call for abstracts (see below), additional seats will be made available after the call is closed. Online participation will be available independently of the call.  
Registration fees:  
Onsite: Eur 60,- for on-site participation in Cologne (poster presenters need to present in-person)   
Online: free online participation, but registration is required to receive the access information 

Learning objectives

Open questions to be discussed include, but are not limited to: 
  • What are the practical challenges in handling harmful online communication?  
  • Which theoretical concepts and tools can be used to detect and analyze harmful online communication? 
  • What are the academic challenges in detecting and analyzing harmful online communication? 
  • Which data quality measures should be employed? 
  • Which legal and ethical challenges does the field face (e.g. privacy/informed consent)?  
  • How can the challenges of detecting and analyzing harmful online communication be overcome? 
  • How can we improve the use of data from online platforms in the future? 
Confirmed speakers:  
  • Isabelle Augenstein, University of Copenhagen
  • Leon Derczynski, ITU Copenhagen & University of Washington 
  • Iginio Gagliardone, University of the Witwatersrand 
  • Elena Jung, modus | zad, Centre for Applied Research on Deradicalisation
  • Libby Hemphill, University of Michigan 
  • Homa Hosseinmardi, University of Pennsylvania 
  • Paloma Viejo Otero, Center for Media, Communication and Information Research (ZeMKI), University of Bremen
  • Tetsuro Kobayashi, Waseda University 
  • Anne Lauscher, University of Hamburg 
  • Philipp Lorenz-Spreen, Max-Planck-Institute Berlin 
  • Ilia Markov, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam 
  • Diana Rieger, Ludwig-Maximilians-University München 
  • Björn Ross, University of Edinburgh 
  • Paul Röttger, Bocconi University
  • Mattia Samory, Sapienza University of Rome
  • Francielle Vargas, University of São Paulo
  • Isabelle van der Vegt, Utrecht University 
The conference is funded by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation.


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