Join the Project Harmony Team
The Internet is rife with hate and bullying, and the long-term ill effects of this behavior has become a hot topic in the public arena. Aside from creating psychological malaise, hostility can even affect our physical health, causing depression, anxiety, even heart disease and cancer. It may seem too big a problem for any one person to tackle, but we have created a way for everyday Internet users to help us in our mission to increase awareness of hate-speech, and thereby combat it: Project Harmony.
Project Harmony is a new suite of tools in development that seeks to improve the tenor of online communications. How? Simply put, it increases our awareness of harmful language patterns. When visiting various social media websites (currently Facebook, YouTube, Google+, and twitter) content from posts and comments are scored by a comparison to our data set. When a certain post crosses a threshold of similarity to our data its color is changed making it more salient.
Project Harmony works because at the heart of the code is a 'statistical model' built from a growing codex of bullying statements. Harmony checks each block of text and gives it a score - too high of a score, and Harmony flags that bit of text. Project Harmony is pretty clever, but still not completely accurate. We invite you to suggest text that should not have been highlighted by providing this icon: Click it once if the highlighted text is actually ‘cool’ after all.
Based upon latest social learning theories, Salience is a tool designed to develop within you both motivation to critically examine their communications and the communications of those around them as well as understanding of how language is used, at times subconsciously, to manipulate others through fear and hate. This is achieved by drawing attention to text which is similar in structure to our collection of hateful manipulative statements.
The beta version is open to anyone with an interest in making the internet safer while recognizing the real threats to human rights posed by hate speech in its many forms. Right now, all you really need is to be using Google Chrome and to install this extension, then you can contribute simply by visiting pages on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ where bullying comments are occurring.
We invite you to suggest additional ways to interact better with these bits of text. On the options settings (available by clicking on the fireball icon in the url window) you can choose your own highlight color and make other adjustments. We will listen to your suggestions, incorporate them where possible, and provide custom instructions here on getting the extension up and running on your Chrome browser should you have any trouble.
As Project Harmony progresses, new upgrades will be scheduled and released and will include many more features and increased functionality. We will be adding:
- Expanded support for Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Google+, as well as other social platforms.
- More nuanced contribution features to help us develop smarter alerts and provide analytics.
- New educational materials helping parents and teachers understand online bullying.
Join our team of beta testers and take an active role in the identification of harmful speech. As a part of Team BETAGroup, you will receive news and alerts, and will have first access to new educational tools, media, and games as the Beacon Initiative grows.
Become a BETAGroup member for news and alerts.