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Mon Sep 4, 2017, 04:26 PM

Unsocial Media: Tracking Twitter Abuse against Women MPs

“I’ve had death threats, I’ve had people tweeting that I should be hung if ‘they could find a tree big enough to take the fat bitch’s weight’… I’ve had rape threats…and n*gger, over and over and over again”
Diane Abbott, UK MP and Shadow Home Secretary, July 2017

Diane Abbott’s testimony during a recent parliamentary debate about intimidation against members of parliament (MPs) was the first time many people heard the extent of sexist and racist abuse facing women in UK politics. But for women MPs who are active on social media platforms, these harmful encounters are something they must contend with daily.

At Amnesty, we’ve been investigating the extent of online abuse against women MPs active on Twitter in the UK through individual interviews and by using machine learning to detect abusive tweets sent to women MPs. The findings outlined in this post provide a detailed look at abuse on Twitter in the run-up to the 2017 election — in which Diane Abbott’s case stands out for all the wrong reasons.


While online abuse is certainly not limited to women in the public eye, women politicians face an extraordinary amount of abuse on social media. To understand just how much abuse women MPs face online we worked with a data scientist to analyse a sample of Twitter data from 1 January to 8 June, with a focus on the six weeks prior to the 8 June UK election. We wanted to understand how many of the tweets sent to women MPs were abusive, whether some MPs were targeted more than others and if there were trends in such targeting.



(TinyURL given above because DU won't render the full link correctly, which is: https://medium.com/@AmnestyInsights/unsocial-media-tracking-twitter-abuse-against-women-mps-fc28aeca498a)

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