Twitter a 'toxic place' for women - Amnesty International

A man holds a smart phone with the icons for the social networking apps Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
A man holds a smart phone with the icons for the social networking apps Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Image: FILE IMAGE: Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP

Twitter is a toxic place for women, according to Amnesty International's Troll Patrol  report.

Amnesty International used crowd-sourcing, data science and machine learning to measure the level of violence and abuse aimed at women on Twitter between 2017 and 2018. 

Millions of tweets received by 778 female journalists, activists, parliamentarians, bloggers and writers across the UK and USA were surveyed.

The research found that 1.1-million tweets directed at the 778 women during the year were abusive - meaning that 7.1% of tweets sent to the women in the study were considered problematic.

According to the report, women on Twitter were subjected to homophobic, misogynistic and racially abusive comments.

Women of colour (black, Latino, Asian and mixed-race women) were 34% more likely to be mentioned in abusive tweets than white women. Black women in particular were 84% more likely to be targeted.

Asian women were 81% more likely to experience ethnic and racial slurs than white women. Mixed-race women received abuse in all categories, including sexism, racism, sexual threats and physical threats. 

About 225,766 tweets directed at 454 journalists were considered abusive, with right-wing journalists enduring the most abuse. 

"Twitter's failure to effectively tackle violence and abuse on the platform has a chilling effect on freedom of expression online and undermines women's mobilisation for equality and justice," said Amnesty International. 

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