Amnesty Intl. finds high levels of online abuse of women on Twitter; incl. company comments

Following the launch of its "Toxic Twitter" report in March 2018, Amnesty International launched Troll Patrol, a global crowdsourcing effort to demonstrate the scale and nature of abuse that women continue to experience on Twitter. In collaboration with Element AI, they designed and analysed a dataset of thousands of tweets mentioning 778 women politicians and journalists from the UK and US. Key findings include:

  • 7.1% of tweets sent to the women in the study were “problematic” or “abusive”. This amounts to 1.1 million tweets mentioning 778 women across the year, or one every 30 seconds.
  • Women of colour, (black, Asian, Latinx and mixed-race women) were 34% more likely to be mentioned in abusive or problematic tweets than white women.
  • Black women were disproportionately targeted, being 84% more likely than white women to be mentioned in abusive or problematic tweets.
  • Online abuse targets women from across the political spectrum 

In a response to the Amnesty report, Vijaya Gadde, Twitter's legal, policy, and trust and safety lead said, "Abuse, malicious automation, and manipulation detract from the health of Twitter. We are committed to holding ourselves publicly accountable toward progress in this regard."

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21 December 2018

Troll Patrol findings: Using crowdsourcing, data science & machine learning to measure violence & abuse against women on Twitter

Author: Amnesty International

These findings are the result of a collaboration between Amnesty International and Element AI,  a global artificial intelligence software product company. Together, we surveyed millions of tweets received by 778 journalists and politicians from the UK and US throughout 2017 representing a variety of political views, and media spanning the ideological spectrum... Amnesty International has repeatedly urged Twitter to publicly share comprehensive and meaningful information about reports of violence and abuse against women, as well as other groups, on the platform, and how they respond to it. On 12 December 2018 Twitter released an updated Transparency Reportin which it included for the first time a section on 'Twitter Rules Enforcement'. This was one of Amnesty International’s key recommendations to Twitter and we see the inclusion of this data as an encouraging step. We are disappointed, however, that the information provided in the transparency report does not go far enough... Our study found that 7.1% of tweets sent to the women in the study were problematic or abusive. This amounts to 1.1 million problematic or abusive mentions of these 778 women across the year, or one every 30 seconds on average. Women of colour were more likely to be impacted - with black women disproportionately targeted with problematic or abusive tweets.

... Amnesty International and Element AI’s experience using machine learning to detect online abuse against women highlights the risks of leaving it to algorithms to determine what constitutes abuse... Human judgement by trained moderators remains crucial for contextual interpretation... Amnesty International’s full set of recommendations to Twitter are available here

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21 December 2018

Twitter is indeed toxic for women, Amnesty report says

Author: Emily Dreyfuss, Wired

Amnesty International considers such online abuse against women a human rights issue, and has repeatedly called on Twitter to release “meaningful information about reports of violence and abuse against women, as well as other groups, on the platform, and how they respond to it.”... “We have built the world’s largest crowdsourced data set about online abuse against women,” Milena Marin, senior adviser for tactical research at Amnesty International, said in a statement. “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.”... "Abuse, malicious automation, and manipulation detract from the health of Twitter," Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s legal, policy, and trust and safety lead, wrote in a response to Amnesty, which was provided to WIRED. "We are committed to holding ourselves publicly accountable toward progress in this regard."

... Gadde also took issue with the way Amnesty defined "problematic" tweets, writing: “We would welcome further discussion about how you have defined 'problematic' as part of this research in accordance with the need to protect free expression and ensure policies are clearly and narrowly drafted.” The report does acknowledge that "problematic tweets may qualify as legitimate speech and would not necessarily be subject to removal from the platform... "We remain committed to expanding our transparency reporting to better inform people about the actions we take under the Twitter rules," Gadde wrote in her response, dated December 12. "We are grateful for the feedback Amnesty shared on what this should include."

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20 December 2018

Twitter's new transparency report explains approach to addressing online abuse, child sexual exploitation & violent threats

Author: Twitter public policy

"Evolving our Twitter transparency report: expanded data & insights," 12 Dec 2018

Internet freedom and online expression remain under significant pressure... Twitter... received 10% more government information requests... The new Twitter Rules enforcement section within the Transparency Report is a significant milestone on our transparency journey. It provides data and insights into the following areas of our enforcement approach: abuse, hateful conduct, private information, child sexual exploitation, sensitive media, and violent threats... This also marks the first Twitter Transparency Report in which we are publishing metrics pertaining to our actions to fight spam and other malicious forms of automation... In the reporting period of January 1, 2018, to June 30, 2018, we suspended a total of 487,363 accounts for violations related to child sexual exploitation. 97% of those accounts were proactively flagged by a combination of technology... The full Twitter Transparency Report with updated details and data covering January through June 2018 can be found here.

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