NZ Twitter Bot Combats Negative Tweets To Female Election Candidates

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Areto Labs launches ParityBOT_NZ for upcoming General Election

Auckland, NZ: Today, tech start-up Areto Labs, in collaboration with Aucklander and creative technologist Jacqueline Comer, has officially launched @ParityBOT_NZ, a Twitter bot that uses artificial intelligence to classify hateful tweets sent to women candidates and posts positive tweets in response, to raise awareness about the issues faced by women campaigning online, and build support for candidates when they’re faced with online abuse.

“Women in politics face a disproportionate amount of online abuse and cite online toxicity as a major barrier to running for office,” says Areto Labs co-founder and COO Kasey Machin. “We grew frustrated by the lack of solutions, so we developed this tool to help.”

Areto Labs’ other co-founder and CEO Lana Cuthbertson continues: “To achieve gender equality, we need to combat misogyny and toxicity online, so women will face one less obstacle to participation.” Māori, Pacific, women of colour and gender diverse women are particularly targeted which accounts for the lack of diverse representation in all levels of elected office.

ParityBOT_NZ is a great example of ‘tech for good’, a way of using emerging technology to build humanity. “Even in an egalitarian society like New Zealand, there are many ways in which the playing field of life is anything but. ParityBOT_NZ is a small but positive way to raise awareness and work towards building a better New Zealand for everyone,” says Jacqueline Comer.

Areto Labs is asking all New Zealanders to get involved by crowdsourcing “Kiwi as” positivitweets for the bot. Machin: “If you’re keen to do something to combat toxicity in politics, you can also submit your own positivitweet. Just write your tweet, and the bot will take it from there.”

The team at Areto Labs first launched ParityBOT in Canada in 2018 for the Alberta provincial election, and ran the bot in Canadian federal election in 2019. Areto Labs are looking to further expand the bot in the future, and are working on launching ParityBOT_US later this year.

About Areto Labs: Areto Labs is on a mission to dismantle online toxicity through positive interventions. Their vision is equality for humanity through a more positive internet. They are

currently raising capital to grow their tech offering, and are looking for patrons on Patreon.

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