Evaluating the Impact of COVID-19 on Cyberbullying through Bayesian Trend Analysis

Proceedings of The European Interdisciplinary Cybersecurity Conference (EICC) co-located with European Cyber Week 2020

6 Pages Posted: 11 Aug 2020

See all articles by Sayar Karmakar

Sayar Karmakar

University of Florida

Sanchari Das

University of Denver

Date Written: August 7, 2020

Abstract

COVID-19's impact has surpassed from personal and global health to our social life. In terms of digital presence, it is speculated that during pandemic, there has been a significant rise in cyberbullying. In this paper, we have examined the hypothesis of whether cyberbullying and reporting of such incidents have increased in recent times. To evaluate the speculations, we collected cyberbullying related public tweets (N=454,046) posted between January 1st, 2020 - June 7th, 2020. A simple visual frequentist analysis ignores serial correlation and does not depict changepoints as such. To address correlation and a relatively small number of time points, Bayesian estimation of the trends is proposed for the collected data via an autoregressive Poisson model. We show that this new Bayesian method detailed in this paper can clearly show the upward trend on cyberbullying-related tweets since mid-March 2020. However, this evidence itself does not signify a rise in cyberbullying but shows a correlation of the crisis with the discussion of such incidents by individuals. Our work emphasizes a critical issue of cyberbullying and how a global crisis impacts social media abuse and provides a trend analysis model that can be utilized for social media data analysis in general.

Keywords: cyberbullying, COVID-19, twitter, social media, time-series, change-point, bayesian, pandemic

Suggested Citation

Karmakar, Sayar and Das, Sanchari, Evaluating the Impact of COVID-19 on Cyberbullying through Bayesian Trend Analysis (August 7, 2020). Proceedings of The European Interdisciplinary Cybersecurity Conference (EICC) co-located with European Cyber Week 2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3669424

Sayar Karmakar (Contact Author)

University of Florida ( email )

PO Box 117165, 201 Stuzin Hall
Gainesville, FL 32610-0496
United States

Sanchari Das

University of Denver ( email )

2201 S. Gaylord St
Denver, CO 80208-2685
United States

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