Unsocial Media: Tracking Twitter Abuse against Women MPs

By Azmina Dhrodia, Researcher, Technology and Human Rights

At Amnesty, we’ve been investigating the extent of online abuse against women MPs active on Twitter in the UK through individual interviews and by using machine learning to detect abusive tweets sent to women MPs. The findings outlined in this post provide a detailed look at abuse on Twitter in the run-up to the 2017 election — in which Diane Abbott’s case stands out for all the wrong reasons.

The online abuse she and other women MPs experience sits in a wider context of pervasive and damaging attacks against women from all walks of life on social media platforms. For the last eight months I’ve been speaking to journalists, activists, bloggers, comic book writers, comedians and women active in all levels of politics and public life to hear about their experiences of abuse on social media platforms. I’ve had numerous long chats with women in cafés, parks, hotel lobbies, at youth centres or via Skype, and each time I hear the same message. Twitter can be a scary place for women online. Whether women use social media platforms as public figures or for personal use, the threat of abuse is all too real and it is having a silencing effect on women’s participation online and in the public sphere.

Read the full article here

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