Katharina Ludwig, Institute for Media and Communication Studies: data-driven Analysis of Hate Speech on German Twitter / X (September 2023)

Katharina Ludwig is an academic staff member in the project „Responsible News Recommender Systems“ (ReNewRS) supervised by Dr. Philipp Müller. Additionally, she is working in the project “Open and hidden racism in the political and mediated public” together with Prof. Dr. Wessler, Dr. Müller, Dr. Chan, Dr. Ecker as well as Michael Imre and Marius Sältzer

Previously she graduated at the University of Mannheim with a bachelor’s and master's degree in media and communication studies with the elective subject international relations. Her Master Thesis was honored by the Stiftung Kommunikations- und Medienwissenschaft.

Her research interests concern the perception, usage and effects of political communication in news media and social networks. Methodologically she focuses on standardized and automated content analysis and quantitative experiments.

What is your current research topic?

I am working in the project “Data-driven Analysis of Hate Speech on German Twitter and the Effects of Regulation”, in which we, among others, examine the influence of the German Network Enforcement Act and the changes resulting from Elon Musk's take over as CEO on the use of hate speech on Twitter (now “X”).

For those who have not yet delved deeply into the topic of Data Science: How would you explain to a child what you are working on?

I investigate when and in which situations people say nasty things on social media that can hurt others.

Everyone talks about Data Science – how would you describe the importance of the topic for yourself in three words?

Access, overview, tool

What points of contact with Data Science does your work have? Which methods do you already use, and which would be interesting for you in the future?

I am working at the interdisciplinary interface of communication science, political science, linguistics and psychology using the tools of data science. I am personally particularly interested in the use of emotions in texts, and methodologically I have primarily used sentiment analyses and word embeddings. At the moment I'm increasingly working with language models like BERT.

How high is the value of Data Science for your work? Would your research even be possible without Data Science?

Since we analyze very large amounts of social media texts and associated user profiles, my work would not be possible without data science.

What development opportunities do you see for the topic of Data Science in relation to your field?

I hope that methods will be refined to be able to recognize more implicit nuances in texts, for example, to better distinguish between incivility and hate speech and also to better detect implicit emotions. The analysis of (audio)visual content is making great progress, but is still far from sophisticated enough. I would also like social media to become more accessible to researchers in the future.