A new study reveals that around 50% of misogynistic tweets are sent by women, disproving the widely perceived view that online “abuse” comes mainly from men.
In an investigation carried out by think tank Demos, it monitored two words associated with misogyny and used algorithms to distinguish between tweets intended aggressively and those that were more conversational in tone.
In response to the findings, Twitter’s head of trust and safety Kira O’Connor told the BBC, “Hateful conduct has no place on the Twitter platform and is a violation of our terms of service.”
“In addition to our policies and user controls, such as block, mute and our new multiple tweet reporting functionality, we work with civil society leaders and academic experts to understand the challenge that exists,” she said.
The news will come as a shock to feminist campaigners who have long claimed that men are the main perpetrators of internet trolling.
It also follows a 2014 study from cosmetics firm Dove which found out of over five million negative tweets relating to beauty and body image, 80% were sent by women.
A campaign has been launched by British politicians entitled #reclaimtheinternet to prevent “abuse” against women on social media.
I'm still here, writing, tweeting and engaging, despite years of abuse which has affected my health. But others aren't. #reclaimtheinternet
— Laurie Penny (@PennyRed) May 26, 2016
Politicians should receive more abuse online.#ReclaimTheInternet
— Harmful Opinions (@HarmfulOpinions) May 26, 2016
— Martin Daubney (@MartinDaubney) May 26, 2016
Meanwhile Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has claimed that tackling online abuse is an “absolute priority.”