Research

Gender-Based Violence on Twitter

By: Mercedes Fogarassy and Tala Khaki

The Scope

Amnesty International engaged RIWI to conduct a study looking at womens’ experiences on Twitter, specifically in terms of hate speech and online violence. Due to the sensitivity of gender-based violence as a topic, RIWI’s ability to ensure complete anonymity and security for all respondents was extremely important and allowed people to safely and freely engage with the study. Over a 3-week period in late 2021, RIWI engaged over 500 self-identified women Twitter users of all ages from across the United States.

Impact

Using the data provided by RIWI, Amnesty International published their ‘Twitter Scorecard report: Tracking Twitter’s Progress In Addressing Violence And Abuse Against Women Online In The United States’ analyzing the results of RIWI’s and other complementary data. Data provided by RIWI highlighted that abuse often contains sexual and/or misogynistic remarks and may target different aspects of a woman’s identity, notably their race, gender, and sexuality.

 

“Based on the report, the data helped validate Amnesty International’s hypothesis that Twitter is not doing enough to protect women from online violence within their platform.”

Amnesty International US

 

Amnesty International is using RIWI’s findings to advocate for new policies to protect users on social media, specifically focusing on Twitter. 70% of those who experienced harassment or abuse on Twitter say they reported it, and one quarter of those who reported it were dissatisfied with Twitter’s response. RIWI data show that 40% of women who use the platform more than once a day have experienced violence on Twitter, compared to 33% who use the platform once a day, 31% who use the platform a few times a week, 28% who use the platform once a week, and 13% who use the platform less than once a week. RIWI’s findings from this study were used in conjunction with other complementary data sourced by Amnesty International for this report, and aligned with those of external researchers and gender rights advocates Erin Matson and Renee Bracey Sherman who also contributed insights to the Twitter Scorecard.

Graph on female Twitter users and their experiences with online violence

For more information, please contact Mercedes Fogarassy: mercedes@riwi.com