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IIT-Roorkee alumnus develops algorithm to identify, report social media posts on misogyny

Developed by Richi Nayak, a machine learning expert and her colleague Mohammad Abdul Bashar, the algorithm has been trained to understand the content, context, and intent behind social media posts.

Published: 18th September 2020 04:35 PM  |   Last Updated: 18th September 2020 04:46 PM   |  A+A-

Richi Nayak, a computer science professor at Queensland University of Technology, Australia. (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

DEHRADUN: An alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee, Richi Nayak, has developed an algorithm that identifies and reports misogynistic posts on social media platforms.

Developed by Richi Nayak, a machine learning expert and her colleague Mohammad Abdul Bashar, the algorithm has been trained to understand the content, context, and intent behind social media posts.

“I have always been interested in mathematics at a young age. I would like to thank my late supervisor professor JD Sharma for introducing me to the field of machine learning during the post-graduation at IIT Roorkee. I was also fortunate to receive guidance and mentorship under IIT Roorkee’s expert academicians including the late professors G C Nayak, C Mohan, and JL Gaindhar. It was instrumental in motivating me to take up a career in research to address societal issues," said Richi Nayak, a computer science professor at Queensland University of Technology, Australia.

The COVID-19 lockdown witnessed a spurt in incidences of online harassment and domestic violence against women as people are spending more time on the Internet.

A Web Foundation survey highlights that 52% of young women and girls admitted that they have experienced online abuse, including threatening messages, sexual harassment, and the sharing of private images without consent.

Richi, who has been exploring to leverage her expertise in machine learning to solve a social issue, is of the view that detecting abusive content targeting women will make them safer online.

Her research focusses on the training of models with datasets like Wikipedia and subsequently training it is somewhat abusive language through user review data. It also trained the model on a large dataset of tweets. Besides equipping it with linguistic capability, the researchers taught it to distinguish between misogynistic and non-misogynistic tweets.

Her research marks a paradigm shift from users reporting suspected cases of harassment to automatically detecting and reporting abusive content on social media.

The research demonstrates the use of STEM knowledge to address societal issues and her endeavour towards making lives brighter for women.

“I am delighted that technology co-developed by an IIT-R alumnus can be used to automatically flag harassment of women on social media. I hope the detection of such instances will induce corrective behavioural changes towards the way social media is being used as well as towards women” said Professor Ajit K Chaturvedi, director, IIT-R.



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