Could you end up saying something hateful on the Internet? Find out with the ‘Benci Calculator’

The Centre is working together with the the Communications and Multimedia Content Forum of Malaysia (Content Forum) to raise awareness about self-regulation as part of a move to combat hate speech in Malaysia. — Cyber bullying vector created by pikisuperstar -

Malaysians are urged to think before they tweet as the number of hateful tweets has been on the rise for the past three months, according to data by The Centre, a non-profit think tank.

In a statement today (June 21), The Centre said its #TrackerBenci AI prototype has recorded 2,740 tweets deemed as hateful in March. The figure rose to 3,088 in April and decreased slightly to 3,004 in May. It added that 34% of the terms or phrases recorded by the tracker system has been identified as potentially hateful. Earlier figures recorded 2,784 tweets in January and 2,613 tweets in February.

According to an FAQ, #TrackerBenci defines hate speech as a statement made publicly and deemed as insulting or threatening, and speech that targets traits such as ethnicity, nationality, gender or sexual orientation.

Chief executive officer of The Centre, Dr Khairil Izamin Ahmad, said creating awareness about hate speech is the first step towards countering the issue.

“Through #TrackerBenci, our AI-enabled prototype, we have developed a resource centre through which members of the public can learn about current online hate speech trends in Malaysia. It forms part of our effort to initiate a holistic societal response to better address hate speech in the country, from the policymaking to the grassroots levels,” he said.

The Centre has also developed a ‘Benci Calculator’ which allows users to key in any word or phrase to assess whether it has the potential to be deemed as hateful. They will get results explaining how the phrase may be potentially insulting or how it could perpetuate negative stereotypes against certain communities.

If users don’t agree with the findings, they can submit feedback to train the Benci Calculator to produce more accurate results.

The Centre is working together with the Communications and Multimedia Content Forum of Malaysia (Content Forum) to raise awareness about self-regulation as part of a move to combat hate speech in Malaysia.

The initiative is in line with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Content Code (Content Code), a set of guidelines by the Content Forum which outlines the best practices and ethical standards for content creation and consumption.

According to the Content Code, hate speech refers to any portrayal of words, speech or pictures that aims to defame, denigrate or otherwise devalue a person or group on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, gender, sexual orientation or disability.

Content Forum executive director Mediha Mahmood said social media phenomenons such as cancel culture and hate clicks have cultivated a habit of constant outrage among social media users in Malaysia.

“Together with The Centre, we hope to not only raise awareness, but encourage more people to practice self-regulation while creating content and in their digital interactions,” she said.

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