This study takes a novel approach to combat harassment in online platforms by detecting the severity of abusive comments, that has not been investigated before. The study compares the performance of machine learning models such as Naïve Bayes, Random Forest, and Support Vector Machine, with deep learning models such as Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) and Bi-directional Long Short-Term Memory (Bi-LSTM). Moreover, in this work we investigate the effect of text pre-processing on the performance of the machine and deep learning models, the feature set for the abusive comments was made using unigrams and bigrams for the machine learning models and word embeddings for the deep learning models. The comparison of the models’ performances showed that the Random Forest with bigrams achieved the best overall performance with an accuracy of (0.94), a precision of (0.91), a recall of (0.94), and an F1 score of (0.92).

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