New Study Reveals the Extent of the Misogyny Infecting Twitter

wessexscene.co.uk
It's kind of upsetting to know that Twitter would probably be the best social network there is, were it not for all the abuse. That isn't strictly Twitter's fault, but it has almost served as an awful flame to draw in larger and larger whispers of awful moths (yes, the collective noun for moths is whisper, you have my permission to impress someone at a pub with that). Tay alone was evidence enough of that.

Online abuse is difficult to quantify, but when you pare it down to specific flavours, it becomes easier, and more upsetting. A new study by British think tank Demos has done exactly that, focusing on misogyny. The study monitored certain words, specifically 'slut' and 'whore'.

Over a 3 week period, it was found that 6,500 users had been targeted for abuse across 10,000 tweets in the UK, whilst on an international level, 200,000 tweets were sent and 80,000 people were targeted. To put that in perspective, that's enough people to almost fill Wembley Stadium, each getting one abusive tweet per week.

In terms of gender distinction, Demos found that it was a 50/50 between male and female culprits, although less surprisingly, the vast majority of the targets were women. In a previous study, they looked at the word 'rape' and found that it was directed at women in a threatening manner 1 time out of every 10. That was between December 2013 and February 2014 though, I shudder to think what it would have been like when Gamergate kicked off a few months later.

Twitter have released a statement saying that, as ever, they're exploring new ways to cope with the matter, and once again it isn't their fault that this happens, it's a regrettable side effect of the format that they use. More often than not, freedom of speech is misused as a counterpoint by those who feel that they should be allowed to get away with this stuff, but we're living in a new, rapidly changing world as far as communication is concerned, and it needs new rules.

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