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September 22, 2020updated 21 Sep 2020 11:40pm

Amnesty International: Twitter needs to do more to stop abuse against women

By Ellen Daniel

Twitter is not doing enough to protect women from online violence, according to Amnesty International.

In its Twitter Scorecard report, Amnesty International assessed the social media company’s efforts to implement recommendations for tackling abuse and violence online, discovering that Twitter had only fully implemented one of the recommendations made by the non-profit in 2018.

In 2018, Amnesty International published its Toxic Twitter report, highlighting ten recommendations the platform should make, related to transparency, reporting mechanisms, and enhanced privacy and security features. The human rights organisation said that although Twitter has made some progress since its publication, there is still more to be done.

This is despite promises to improve its platform to reduce online abuse, the non-profit said.

It highlighted that women from “ethnic or religious minorities, marginalised castes, lesbian, bisexual or transgender women, as well as non-binary individuals, and women with disabilities” are disproportionately impacted by abuse on the platform.

According to research by Amnesty International, an abusive or problematic tweet was sent to female journalists and politicians every 30 seconds on average in 2017.

Earlier this year, Twitter started trialling a new feature that allows users to limit who can reply to their tweets in an effort to combat abuse on the platform.

“Jack Dorsey needs to match words with action”

Amnesty International said that Twitter had made good progress in improving its appeals progress, and had made some progress in improving users’ awareness of its privacy and security features. However, it highlighted that Twitter needed to be more transparent in how it uses automated processes to identify online abuse against women.

“It is totally in Twitter’s power to implement these changes that would make a real difference to millions of women’s experience on the platform,” said Michael Kleinman, director of Amnesty International’s Silicon Valley Initiative.

“Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey needs to match words with action to show he is genuinely committed to making Twitter a safer place for women. We will continue to press the company until we see more changes that truly show that abuse against women is not welcome on the platform.”

According to Amnesty International, Twitter acknowledged it needs to do more. However, the company said its combination of human moderation and use of technology, allows it to take a more proactive response to online abuse.

On publishing disaggregated data by country or region, Twitter argued this could be open to misinterpretation and give a misleading impression of the problem.


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