Detecting Human Rights Violations on Social Media during Russia-Ukraine War

Paper by Poli Nemkova, et al: “The present-day Russia-Ukraine military conflict has exposed the pivotal role of social media in enabling the transparent and unbridled sharing of information directly from the frontlines. In conflict zones where freedom of expression is constrained and information warfare is pervasive, social media has emerged as an indispensable lifeline. Anonymous social media platforms, as publicly available sources for disseminating war-related information, have the potential to serve as effective instruments for monitoring and documenting Human Rights Violations (HRV). Our research focuses on the analysis of data from Telegram, the leading social media platform for reading independent news in post-Soviet regions. We gathered a dataset of posts sampled from 95 public Telegram channels that cover politics and war news, which we have utilized to identify potential occurrences of HRV. Employing a mBERT-based text classifier, we have conducted an analysis to detect any mentions of HRV in the Telegram data. Our final approach yielded an F2 score of 0.71 for HRV detection, representing an improvement of 0.38 over the multilingual BERT base model. We release two datasets that contains Telegram posts: (1) large corpus with over 2.3 millions posts and (2) annotated at the sentence-level dataset to indicate HRVs. The Telegram posts are in the context of the Russia-Ukraine war. We posit that our findings hold significant implications for NGOs, governments, and researchers by providing a means to detect and document possible human rights violations…(More)” See also Data for Peace and Humanitarian Response? The Case of the Ukraine-Russia War