new figures reveal twitter abuse is even more vile than you thought

Harassment online isn’t only rampant, but equally fuelled by men and women.

by Wendy Syfret and i-D Staff
31 May 2016, 2:55am

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Anyone who has ever perused the world wide web knows it can be a rough place. Abuse and harassment are insidious and increasingly difficult to police. Newly updated figures by UK based think-tank Demos have revealed just how dark the situation is. Their team mapped Twitter over a three week period and found that the words "slut" and "whore" were used in 200,000 in tweets to over 80,000 people. That's roughly 6.6 abusive tweets a minute, or 9,500 a day. 

Additionally, despite what many think when we talk about abuse online, the research showed men and women were using the slurs equally. The group used algorithms to differentiate between aggressive messages and those that used the terms in self-identifying or conversational ways i.e. in reference to slut shaming or slut walks.

The findings are especially significant as Twitter has long been under pressure to build an automated tool to identify abuse. Presently, aggressive and offensive behaviour can only be removed after it has been individually flagged by users. That means individuals still need to engage with the verbal assault to have anything done about it. If there is a silver lining to this very depressing internet cloud, it's that we might finally see something done about harassment online.


Text Wendy Syfret
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