Knowledge-Grounded Target Group Language Recognition in Hate Speech

Reyero Lobo, Paula; Daga, Enrico; Alani, Harith and Fernandez, Miriam (2023). Knowledge-Grounded Target Group Language Recognition in Hate Speech. In: The Proceedings of SEMANTICS 2023, the 19th International Conference on Semantic Systems: Knowledge Graphs: Semantics, Machine Learning, and Languages (Acosta, Maribel; Peroni, Silvio; Vahdati, Sahar; Gentile, Anna-Lisa; Pellegrini, Tassilo and Kalo, Jan-Christoph eds.), Studies on the Semantic Web, IOS Press, pp. 1–18.



Hate speech comes in different forms depending on the communities targeted, often based on factors like gender, sexuality, race, or religion. Detecting it online is challenging because existing systems are not accounting for the diversity of hate based on the identity of the target and may be biased towards certain groups, leading to inaccurate results. Current language models perform well in identifying target communities, but only provide a probability that a hate speech text contains references to a particular group. This lack of transparency is problematic because these models learn biases from data annotated by individuals who may not be familiar with the target group. To improve hate speech detection, particularly target group identification, we propose a new hybrid approach that incorporates explicit knowledge about the language used by specific identity groups. We leverage a Knowledge Graph (KG) and adapt it, considering an appropriate level of abstraction, to recognise hate speech-language related to gender and sexual orientation. A thorough quantitative and qualitative evaluation demonstrates that our approach is as effective as state-of-the-art language models while adjusting better to domain and data changes. By grounding the task in explicit knowledge, we can better contextualise the results generated by our proposed approach with the language of the groups most frequently impacted by these technologies. Semantic enrichment helps us examine model outcomes and the training data used for hate speech detection systems, and handle ambiguous cases in human annotations more effectively. Overall, infusing semantic knowledge in hate speech detection is crucial for enhancing understanding of model behaviors and addressing biases derived from training data.

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