Knowing Online Hate Speech

Despite the Union’s effort to fight against online hate speech (OHS), several reports showed an increase in OHS during 2020-21. The current pandemic provided a context for increased scapegoating and stigmatization, and minority groups are disproportionally targets of hatred discourse. OHS is a persistent threat to the Union’s values and there is a need for more knowledge on its content, detection and countering, as highlighted in the current Call. Portugal, as other member states, has seen an escalation of hate speech against immigrants, racial/ethnic groups, and LGBTIQ communities.

However, there is no systematized knowledge nor tools designed to detect, monitor and prevent OHS against these communities. Our project aims at addressing this need, offering a comprehensive, participatory and culturally sensitive approach to analyse, detect, and counter, direct and indirect OHS in Portuguese language. To better tackle and prevent OHS we need to know and understand the hate in it. We combine social and language sciences with cutting edge computer sciences techniques, offering a comprehensive, interdisciplinary approach to:

a) analyse content and propagation of OHS and counter speech in user generated content (e.g., tweets) in Portugal;
b) create models for its automatic detection;
c) offer culturally sensitive and tailored guidelines and tools for effective detection, prevention and countering narratives to be used by individuals, civil society organizations, and policy makers.

Our results have a 3-fold impact, leading to problem solving actions that meet the needs of the target populations:
a) increased scientific knowledge of both OHS and OCS narratives in Portuguese language;
b) increased cooperation between the scientific community, civil society organizations, and public authorities regarding OHS detection and effective countering narratives;
c) increased public awareness of OHS and effective OCS strategies.


As the Chair of WG 5, Cláudia Silva is responsible for communication in KNOwhate. Our team is committed to producing informative podcasts and launching an online campaign to educate the public on the issue of hate speech in Portuguese society. Our goal is to define hate speech and to interview members of targeted communities, including those of African or Roma descent, LGBTQI+, and Brazilians, who constitute the largest migrant community in Portugal. Currently, there is no dedicated program addressing hate speech in Portugal. Therefore, our podcast series will be the first of its kind to explore this issue in-depth at the national level. Through this initiative, we hope to reach a wide audience and promote greater equality in the Portuguese society.


03/01/2022 - 30/07/2024

Funding scheme

European Commission, Funding program:

Project reference



Project website


HCI Subfields

Critical Computing; Learning, Education, and Families; Sustainability, and Social Justice; Understanding People