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Cyberbullies tracked and smashed with new tool

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Nasty personal attacks on social media networks like Instagram can be tracked and smashed with a new digital tool.

Developed by CU Boulder's CyberSafety Research Center, the software combines several different computing tools to scan massive amounts of social media data, sending alerts to parents or network administrators that abuse has occurred.

The approach uses five times less computing resources than existing tools and that's efficient enough to monitor a network the size of Instagram for a modest investment in server power.

The group who produced the initiative have released a free app for Android phones that allows parents to receive alerts when their kids are the objects of bullying on Instagram called BullyAlert.

The team first employed real humans to teach a computer program how to separate harmless online comments from abuse and then designed a system that filters the benign from the mean.

When a user uploads a new post, the group's tools make a quick scan of the comments. If those comments look questionable, then that post gets high priority to receive further checks. But if the comments all seem charitable, then the system bumps the post to the bottom of its queue.

The approach was tested on real-world data from Vine, a now-defunct video-sharing platform, and Instagram because they make their data publicly available.

The toolset can monitor traffic on Vine and Instagram in real-time, detecting cyberbullying behavior with 70% accuracy.


12 Dec 2018
Year 12 exam results aren't everything News Image

Year 12 is both a start and an ending and this period of change can be stressful. But there is help available if kids seem to be struggling with their mental health.
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12 Dec 2018 | National
Bypass ATAR News Image

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11 Dec 2018 | NSW
Rural school’s learning platform make for easy access learning News Image

Located on the Victoria-New South Wales (NSW) border, Wodonga Middle Years College (WMYC) has leveraged technology so every student can access education from anywhere at any time. Read More

11 Dec 2018 | National
Queenslanders best Young ICT Explorers News Image

The 2018 national winners of the Young ICT Explorers competition have been announced with teams from Queensland and Australian Capital Territory taking home the top prizes. Read More

10 Dec 2018 | International
Finland to use Aus education toolkit News Image

We’re often told to look to Finland for direction on education but the tables have been turned with the Nordic nation adopting National Excellence in School Leadership Initiative’s (NESLI) Staff Wellbeing Toolkit. Read More