it’s Not easy being a woman on Twitter. This is what emerges from an extensive study conducted by Amnesty International on hundreds of thousands of messages posted on the social network. The NGO has teamed up with Element I and 6 500 volunteers to analyze 228 000 tweets sent to 778 female politicians or journalists in the United States and the United Kingdom.

using a sophisticated algorithm, they were able to analyze all messages sent to these women by 2017. And the results are staggering : 7.1% of the tweets that were intended were a problem. This represents more than a million messages for these only 778 women, is a message problem received every 30 seconds on average in 2017.

women of color are most affected. They may be 34 % more time to be covered by the tweets of a problem than white women. A figure that rises to 84 % for the only black women : percent of tweets that are sent, ten pose a problem.

62 % of women already victims of tweets abusive

In a previous study published last July, the NGO called already Twitter of place is toxic for women.” More than 62 % of the respondents to a questionnaire reported having been victims of tweets abusive on the social network.

And they are even more likely to be covered as they are exposed and brought to share ideas, such as politicians and journalists, which is based on the latest study. For Reporters without borders, harassment of online journalists is even ” a new threat to the freedom of the press “. The NGOS shared the same observation : women journalists are also more affected by cyber-bullying than their male colleagues.


An example has recently made headlines in France : the one of Nadia Daam, a victim of harassment of unprecedented violence organized after it had criticized in a column on Europe 1 the cyber bullies on the forum Blabla 18-25 of After a complaint and a trial, some of his attackers have been convicted, but do not always account for the violence of their behavior behind the screen.

Read also Cyberstalking #1 : how it destroys lives

These messages only 280 characters, however, can have a huge impact on the victims. “This is devastating, said the feminist activist Caroline de Haas in the World last may. The attackers give you the feeling of be a waste. “In the Face of the wave of tweets violent against her, she preferred to close her account on the social network.

Twitter pointed the finger

In this flood of messages that are violent, Twitter has pointed the finger for its slowness to delete the tweets reported. And yet, when this is the case, because the platform enforces strictly its principle number one : “Twitter advocates freedom of expression for all. “The inciting to violence or harassment are, in theory, supposed to be moderated by the social network, but it remains at its discretion. This study confirms that “Twitter is a place where racism, classism, misogyny, and homophobia can thrive without being overpowered,” complains Amnesty International.

Read also Cyberstalking #5 : the hypocrisy of social networks

The NGO indicates that it has ” repeatedly called on Twitter to publish data on the scale and nature of abuses recorded on their platform “. For her, the lack of transparency of the platform “hides the extent of the problem and makes it difficult to find effective solutions” cyber-harassment.

On the same topic Cyber #5 : the hypocrisy of social networks


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