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Study a 'Sobering Reminder of Twitter's Hellish Reality'

Especially for women, "Troll Patrol" finds
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 19, 2018 7:05 PM CST
The Twitter headquarters.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

(Newser) – Twitter can be a tough place—especially for some women. That’s what Amnesty International’s crowdsourced study called Troll Patrol discovered. The project, a joint effort with software company Element AI, looked at tweets sent to 778 female journalists and politicians in the US and UK, per ABC, finding that the women were attacked on Twitter with “problematic” or “hostile” messages about twice per minute. "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,” Milena Marin of Amnesty International says in a statement. “Twitter’s failure to crack down on this problem means it is contributing to the silencing of already marginalized voices.”

Calling the Troll Patrol data “hardly surprising,” Gizmodo writes that “seeing the cold, hard numbers is a sobering reminder of Twitter’s hellish reality.” The study involved more than 6,500 volunteers in 150 countries. They reviewed 228,000 tweets. They found that women of color are 34% more likely to be the target of an abusive tweet, and about 7% of tweets mentioning female journalists and politicians are negative. In a report released last week, Twitter says about 2.8 million unique accounts were reported for abuse between January and June, 2.7 million were reported for hateful conduct, and 1.4 million were reported for violent threats, all in violation of twitter’s rules. Of those accounts reported, Twitter took action on 249,000, 285,000, and 43,000 accounts respectively. (Read more Twitter stories.)

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