Black Experience

Black Female Journalists, Politicians Receive Abusive Tweets More Often Than White Women: Study

A new study of millions of tweets received by 778 journalists and politicians from the U.K. and U.S. in 2017 found that rampant abuse toward women occurs on Twitter. At least 1.1 million abusive tweets were sent to the women in the study throughout the year. Women are sent abusive content on Twitter every 30 seconds on average.

Amnesty International launched a study into harassment against women on Twitter, in partnership with Element AI. Results found that Black, Latina, Asian and women of mixed race were sent abusive tweets 34 percent more than white women.

However, Black women journalists and politicians received abusive tweets 84 percent more often than white women in the same profession. One in 10 tweets mentioning Black women was abusive or problematic, compared to one in 15 for white women.

The study examined tweets sent to women who are members of the U.S. Congress and Senate and the UK Parliament as well as women journalists from publications like the Daily Mail and the New York Times.

In regard to tweets sent to Congress members, President Trump said in tweet in June that Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) is “an extraordinarily low IQ person.”

Milena Marin, senior adviser for tactical research at Amnesty International, said the study confirms what women experience.

“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,” Marin said, in a statement.

The study was conducted to cause Twitter to make a bigger effort to crack down on hate speech.

“Amnesty International has repeatedly asked Twitter to publish data regarding the scale and nature of abuse on their platform, but so far the company has failed to do so,” the organization said, in a statement.

“This hides the extent of the problem and makes it difficult to design effective solutions.”

In September, Twitter released a new moderation policy banning dehumanizing speech, which is an expansion of the company’s hateful-conduct policy.

Twitter’s CEO is Jack Dorsey, who leads a predominantly male executive leadership team. When women reach out to Dorsey regarding their concerns, he seldom responds.

“Some tweet directly at Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, frustrated that he seems never to take the problem of abuse against women on the site seriously. He rarely answers them directly,” according to Wired.

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