Study shows shocking scale of online abuse against women

Study shows shocking scale of online abuse against women

The largest-ever study into online abuse against women has discovered black women and female journalists are the primary targets of abusive tweets.

Amnesty International carried out research covering 228,000 tweets across the UK and USA in 2017.

The organisation says although abuse is targeted at females across the political spectrum, 'women of colour are more likely to be impacted while black women are disproportionately targeted'.

Milena Marin, a technical advisor with Amnesty, says the abuse has a lasting impact on the people who receive it.

“We found that, although abuse is targeted at women across the political spectrum, women of colour were much more likely to be impacted, and black women are disproportionately targeted," said Ms Marin.

Twitter’s failure to crack down on this problem means it is contributing to the silencing of already marginalised voices.

More than 6,500 volunteers from 150 countries signed up to take part in Troll Patrol, a unique crowdsourcing project designed to process large-scale data about online abuse.

Amnesty International and Element AI then used advanced data science and machine learning techniques to extrapolate data about the scale of abuse that women face on Twitter.

Element AI calculated that 1.1 million abusive or problematic tweets were sent to the women in the study across the year - or one every 30 seconds on average.

Troll Patrol means we have the data to back up what women have long been telling us – that Twitter is a place where racism, misogyny and homophobia are allowed to flourish basically unchecked

Politicians included in the sample came from across the US and UK political spectrums.

The journalists included were from a diverse range of US and UK publications including The Daily Mail, The New York Times, Guardian, The Sun, GalDem, Pink News and Breitbart.

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