The Hateful Memes Challenge: Detecting Hate Speech in Multimodal Memes

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 (NeurIPS 2020)

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Douwe Kiela, Hamed Firooz, Aravind Mohan, Vedanuj Goswami, Amanpreet Singh, Pratik Ringshia, Davide Testuggine


This work proposes a new challenge set for multimodal classification, focusing on detecting hate speech in multimodal memes. It is constructed such that unimodal models struggle and only multimodal models can succeed: difficult examples (“benign confounders”) are added to the dataset to make it hard to rely on unimodal signals. The task requires subtle reasoning, yet is straightforward to evaluate as a binary classification problem. We provide baseline performance numbers for unimodal models, as well as for multimodal models with various degrees of sophistication. We find that state-of-the-art methods perform poorly compared to humans, illustrating the difficulty of the task and highlighting the challenge that this important problem poses to the community.