We know that Twitter can be a toxic place for everyone, but especially for women — and Amnesty International just made that common accusation official.
The human rights focused, non-governmental organization recently released a report that states in very clear terms that Twitter fails to respect women’s rights and their humanity online.
Twitter is toxic
The report — “Toxic Twitter—A Toxic Place for Women” — is the result of a “14-month investigation that combined quantitative and qualitative research,” TechCrunch reported. “The report is based on interviews with 86 women and non-binary people, including journalists, politicians and everyday users across the U.S. and the U.K. about their experiences online.”
“Toxic Twitter” starts by stating that although the social media service helps women from all walks of life connect and network with multiple people, it fails to protect women from online violence.
“… for many women, Twitter is a platform where violence and abuse against them flourishes, often with little accountability,” Amnesty International reported. “As a company, Twitter is failing in its responsibility to respect women’s rights online by inadequately investigating and responding to reports of violence and abuse in a transparent manner.”
Harassment turned human rights issue
According to TechCrunch, the human rights organization wrote the report to look at — and prove — why this excessive online abuse is a human rights issue.
“By framing it as a human rights issue, Amnesty International says it hopes to be able to push Twitter to enforce its own policies consistently and be transparent about how it’s doing so,” TechCrunch reported.
“Twitter’s failure to adequately and consistently enforce their own policies is leading women to either silence or censor themselves online,” added Azmina Dhrodia, Amnesty International’s technology and human rights researcher.
“So women are either leaving the platform, they’re thinking five or six times over before they post anything, they’re taking social media breaks. They’re coming up with a whole bunch of different coping mechanisms in order to avoid violence and abuse because they know by speaking out, it’s not going to be dealt with.”
Twitter doesn’t agree
Twitter, however, disagrees with Amnesty International’s recent report.
The social media organization is especially irked that the human rights organization says Twitter is “unengaged with human rights issues.” The company states that Amnesty’s report is an “unfair representation” of facts. Twitter also states that the report’s findings are opposite of its core mission and ethos.
We find it hard to sympathize with the social media company’s stance. After all, although Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO, has said the business wants to better address safety issues, it hasn’t.
“Amnesty International says Twitter has declined to provide the organization with any ‘meaningful data on how the company responds to reports of violence and abuse’,” reports TechCrunch.
What this means for you
Although Amnesty International’s “Toxic Twitter” report is just a report—it won’t change laws—it does put additional pressure on Twitter to take women’s harassment claims seriously. By the time the company maybe starts to pay attention to women’s needs though, its actions may be too little too late.
Still, there’s always this kind of “Toxic” — the good kind…
Image via Carlos Koblischek