Online trolling of women declared a human rights abuse by Amnesty International

Online trolling of women declared a human rights abuse by Amnesty International

A study released jointly on Tuesday by Amnesty International and an artificial intelligence software company has declared that online harassment of women is a human rights abuse.

The study surveyed "millions of tweets received by 778 journalists and politicians from the UK and US" last year and say that reporters from across the political divide were looked at.

While the report says that women of colour get substantially more abuse than white women, people described as 'right wing' and 'left wing' both received mentions described as "abusive" or "problematic".

The report singles out Twitter as a place where women are harassed by trolls, stating:

Online abuse against women on this scale should not and does not have to exist on social media platforms. Companies like Twitter have a responsibility to respect human rights, which means ensuring that women using the platform are able to express themselves freely and without fear.

In total, the research found over 1 million tweets that were classified as either "abusive" or "problematic" directed as over 750 women on Twitter.

The findings of the survey were:

  • 7.1% of tweets sent to the women in the study were “problematic” or “abusive”. This amounts to 1.1 million tweets mentioning 778 women across the year, or one every 30 seconds
  • Women of colour, (black, Asian, Latinx and mixed-race women) were 34% more likely to be mentioned in abusive or problematic tweets than white women
  • Black women were disproportionately targeted, being 84% more likely than white women to be mentioned in abusive or problematic tweets
  • Online abuse targets women from across the political spectrum - politicians and journalists faced similar levels of online abuse and we observed both liberals and conservatives alike, as well as left and right leaning media organisations were targeted

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