Black women were disproportionately targeted by online abuse

December, 2018
United Kingdom (England)
United States of America

Amnesty International has described Twitter as a “toxic place” for women following years of relentless abuse, threats and harassment on the social media platform.

The non-governmental human rights organisation released a report into harassment against women on Twitter which found that women of colour were 34 per cent more likely to be targets of hate speech than white women.

Meanwhile, black women specifically were 84 per cent more likely to be mentioned in abusive tweets.

According to the report: “Abusive content violates Twitter’s own rules and includes tweets that promote violence against or threaten people based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability or serious disease.”

“Problematic content” was defined as that which is “hurtful or hostile, especially if repeated to an individual on multiple or cumulative occasions”, but does not necessarily meet the threshold of abuse.

The report also found that approximately one in 10 posts mentioning black women contained “abusive or problematic” language, as opposed to one in 15 for white women.

The study involved volunteers for Amnesty and Montreal-based startup Element AI’s crowd-sourcing project, titled “Troll Patrol”, analysing 228,000 tweets sent to 778 female politicians and journalists across the political spectrum in the UK and US between January and December of 2017. 

Twitter responded to the report explaining that its abusive behaviour policy “strictly prohibits” material that “harasses, intimidates or silences another user’s voice”.

Source: Independent