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May 26, 2016

Mass scale social media misogyny revealed in Twitter abuse research

News: 50% of the aggressors were found to be women.

By CBR Staff Writer

A study into the number of aggressive and abusive tweets sent from UK Twitter accounts revealed large scale social media misogyny.

The study, carried out by cross-party think tank Demos, monitored the use of the words "slut" and "whore" by UK Twitter users over three weeks from 23 April to 15 May 2016.

It found that 6,500 unique users were targeted by 10,000 misogynistic and aggressive Tweets.

Internationally, more than 200,000 Tweets using the same terms were sent to 80,000 people in the same period, while 50% of the aggressors were women.

Demos used algorithms to differentiate the tweets being used in explicitly aggressive ways and those that were more conversational in tone.

Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey has committed to tackle abuse on the social media platform.

Researcher Alex Krasodomski-Jones said: "This study provides a birds-eye snapshot of what is ultimately a very personal and often traumatic experience for women.

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"While we have focused on Twitter, who are considerably more generous in sharing their data with researchers like us, it’s important to note that misogyny is prevalent across all social media, and we must make sure that the other big tech companies are also involved in discussions around education and developing solutions.

"This is less about policing the internet than it is a stark reminder that we are frequently not as good citizens online as we are offline."

The research comes as five Mps, Yvette Cooper, Maria Miller, Stella Creasy, Jo Swinson and Jess Phillips, launch their Reclaim the Internet campaign, in response to increasing public concern on the impact of hate speech and abuse on social media.

In 2014, another research by Demos revealed that ‘slut’ and ‘whore’ dominate misogynistic language on Twitter, and both male and female users are responsible for the abuse.

The research has found that women are subjected to more bullying, abuse, hateful language and threats than men when on-line.

According to the study, over 100,000 Tweets mentioned ‘rape’ between 26 December 2013 and 9 February 2014, more than 1 in 10 seemed to be threatening in nature.

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