Analyzing Dangerous Speech, Hate Speech and Offensive Speech in Romanian and Hungarian Public Facebook Contexts using Computational Sociology Approaches

ADHOC is funded by the Romanian Ministery of Research and Innovation, CNCS - UEFISCDI within PNCDI III
Project code: PN-III-P1-1.1-TE-2016-0892 | Contract number: 35/2018

Project Description

The ADHOC research project aims to use digital social research methodology to create an overview of the issue of hate speech on public Facebook contexts through a comparative analysis of Romanian and Hungarian Facebook Fan pages and associated comment threads. The proposal is anchored in computational sociology methodology to provide a large-scale data-driven analysis of contexts, emitters, contents and targets of dangerous speech, hate speech and offensive speech in social media with generalizable results and evidence that could drive policy in the matter. The analyzed samples include news outlets, satirical websites, social entertainment communities, political parties, governmental institutions and non-governmental organizations, activist groups. Data collection of a set estimated at 15-20 million posts and subsequent comments will be automated by using Facebook Open Graph API interrogation. The ADHOC mixed methods approach combines quantitative discourse analysis techniques, co-occurrence analysis with in-depth qualitative approaches to better understand multimodal content, tone and context of the prominent identified hate speech acts.


The ADHOC research project aims to use digital social research methodology to create an overview of the issue of hate speech on public Facebook contexts through a comparative analysis of Romanian and Hungarian Facebook Fan pages. The specific objectives underpinning this goal are:

Context Identification

Identifying the most popular or most relevant Facebook Fan Pages in the Romanian and Hungarian linguistic contexts in different categories – entertainment, news media, politics (governmental, non-governmental, activist), brands, communities or sports.

Context Analysis

Analyzing the posts of each selected Facebook Fan Page in terms of type, time-frame, topic and engagement through comments, reactions and shares.

Term Classification

Identifying and classifying terms and phrases in Romanian and Hungarian that point towards antagonistic speech into dangerous speech, hate speech and offensive speech.

Target Classification

Identifying and classifying references to groups which are often targeted by dangerous speech, hate speech and offensive speech in messages or comments.

Co-occurrence Analysis

Analyzing the co-occurrence of references to target groups with different types of antagonistic speech in Facebook comments aiming to identify emitters, targets, content, context (including temporal).

Comparative Analysis

Comparing the findings for the Romanian and Hungarian linguistic contexts and putting them into perspective regarding previous findings in the region and in the respective countries.


Conceptual framework

Normative and political concepts:
Free speech, Hate speech, Vulnerable group, Protected group, Hate crime, Bias against a member of community, Bias motivated crime, Prejudice against a member of community, Incitement against community, Right-wing extremism, Intolerance, Discrimination, Harassment, Solidarity and cohesion in society
Theoretical concepts
Speech act, Antagonistic speech, Offensive speech, Dangerous speech, Social group, Stereotype, Prejudice, Insult, Slur, Network agenda setting
Methodological concepts:
Niche dictionary, Semantic network, Similarity analysis, Co-occurrence network, Community detection, Discursive patterns, Text mining, Text classification 

State of the Art


Conference Participation and Workshops


Project Team

Grant Director
Associate Professor

Radu Meza

Experienced Researcher
Associate Professor

Andreea Mogoș

Experienced Researcher
Associate Professor

Hanna Orsolya Vincze

Timeline Phase 1 (2018)

May 2018

Project Start

30 May - 1June 2018
Szeged, Hungary

Dissemination: CEECOM Conference

2 paper presentations
1. A Digital Social Science Approach to Studying Hate Speech on Facebook in Romania and Hungary
2. The self-representations of the Romanian politicians on Facebook.Roles, frames and social media engagement

May-September 2018


May-June 2018 selection & collection of purposeful sample
Politicians, media & parties RO+HU posts & comments DB ~2M Records
July-September 2018 selection of popularity sample
300 Facebook pages in Romanian
300 Facebook pages in Hungarian

September-November 2018

Data Collection

Public figures: RO+HU posts & comments DB ~2 M Records
Media institutions: RO+HU posts & comments DB ~1.02 M Records
Political parties: RO+HU posts & comments DB ~ M Records
Governmental institutions: RO+HU posts & comments DB ~ M Records

October 19 2018

Dissemination: Analysing dangerous, hateful and offensive speech in social media comments

HumaNum Conference, Cluj-Napoca

August-November 2018


2 articles sent for publication:
Targets of Online Hate Speech in Context. A Comparative Digital Social Science Analysis of Comments on Public Facebook Pages in Romanian and Hungarian
Is the Eastern European Perspective that Different? Frame Variation in the Romanian News Coverage of the Refugee Crisis
1 article accepted for publication
A Triadic Formal Concept Analysis Approach to Analyzing Online Hate Speech in Facebook Comments 

November 16-17 2018

Dissemination: Discursive Patterns in Social Media Posts and Comments on the Facebook Pages of Institutions. A Comparative Analysis of Romania and Hungary

Transylvania International Conference in Public Administration
1 presentation

November-December 2018


Phase 1 (Conceptual Framework and Methodology) Reporting

Timeline Phase 2 (2019)

January-February 2019


Data collected through Facebook API interrogation (first 25 comments in each thread on the pages of Public Figures, Political Parties, Political Communities and Media Outlets in both Romania and Hungary)
RO DB - Media Outlets ~ 1.5 M comments
RO DB - Political Communities ~ 0.4 M Comments
RO DB - Political Parties ~ 0.2 M Comments
RO DB - Public Figures ~ 2 M Comments
HU DB - Media Outlets ~ 1.5 M comments
HU DB - Political Communities ~ 0.49 M Comments
HU DB - Political Parties ~ 0.19 M Comments
HU DB - Public Figures ~ 2.1 M Comments

March-May 2019

Data Analysis and Conference Proposals

The ADHOC team investigated the datasets and formulated analyses and presentation proposals for several international conferences in 2019.

May 2019

Dissemination: The Algorithmisation of the Public Sphere: The Tropics of Social Media Discourse and the Transcoded Public in the Age of Surveillance Capitalism

Journalism and Digital Media Conference, Cluj-Napoca

June 2019

Dissemination: Pointing Fingers. Stereotyping and Patterns of Meaning in Xenophobic Discourses on Social Media in Romania and Hungary

Central and Eastern European Communication and Media Conference - CEECOM 2019, Sofia, Bulgaria

July 2019

Dissemination: Networked Antagonisms in Central and Eastern Europe. Hate Speech in Comments to News Media Facebook Posts in Romania and Hungary 

5th World Journalism Education Congress, Paris, France

August 2019

Dissemination: Taking Names. Patterns of Meaning and Stereotyping of Social Categories in Antagonistic Discourses on Social Media in Romania and Hungary

European Sociological Association Conference 2019, Manchester, UK

September 2019

Dissemination: Fickle crowds. Discursive Patterns of Media, Public Figures and Citizens on Social Media in Romania and Hungary


August-October 2019

Dissemination: Disparaging “the Assisted”:
Shaming and Blaming Benefit Recipients in Romania and Hungary

Book Chapter - Under Review

October 2019

Dissemination: H pour Haine : l'imaginaire violent des Roumains et Hongrois et la recherche d'identité par violence verbale dans les rencontres abrasives sur les Pages Facebook

„De l’Ouest à l’Est : Métamorphoses des Discours en Europe” International Conference, București


Departamentul de Jurnalism și Media digitală
Facultatea de Științe Politice, Administrative și ale Comunicării
Universitatea Babeș-Bolyai, Cluj-Napoca
Str. Traian Moșoiu, nr 71, cod poștal: 400132

Grant director:
Associate Professor Radu Meza, Ph.D.

Conferences and Workshops

ADHOC Gallery