Google uses machine learning to help journalists track hate

The 'Documenting Hate News Index' follows and catalogs recent events.

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Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Hate crimes have sadly existed long before last weekend's tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia but tracking them has been difficult. To help fix that, the Google News Lab has partnered with ProPublica, the New York Times, BuzzFeed News, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the University of Miami's School of Communications on the Documenting Hate News Index. Machine learning is used to pull locations, names and events from some 3.000 news stories published since this February into an easy-to-navigate feed of articles.

"The feed is generated from news articles that cover events suggestive of hate crime, bias or abuse -- such as anti-semitic graffiti or local court reports about incidents," Google writes. "We are monitoring it to look out for errant stories that slip in, i.e. searches for phrases that just include the word 'hate' -- it hasn't happened yet, but we will be paying close attention."

The web app is available as of today and Google says that it'll keep tweaking it over the next few months as use-case data starts rolling in.

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