Twitter, one of the largest social media platforms, is plagued with online abuse especially towards women who are constantly encountering harassment, rape threats, abuse on the popular website.
The social media platform has been built on the principle of people sharing their thoughts openly but in the past few years, the site has become the worst place for women to speak out.
Amnesty International, the human watchdog has declared Twitter a “Toxic” place for women and in its report published at the end of last year tried to get the decision makers to open their eyes to the current problem. According to their report, the site shows inconsistent response when an abuse is highlighted even when the said incident violates Twitter’s own rules.
After twitter turned a deaf ear, the organization took the matter into its own hands and introduced Twitter Patrol, a project that will be recruiting volunteers whose job would be to find and analyze potentially abusive tweets directed at female journalists, activists, and politicians.
The short-term goal of this project is to look for a pattern in the abusive tweets and publish the findings. In the long-term, the organization hopes to create an algorithm that Twitter could use to automatically detect abusive tweets without any human intervention.
Anyone can volunteer to become a part of Twitter Patrol by filling their details in by clicking this link.
The company is not unaware of this issue as in 2017, Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter tweeted:
1/ We see voices being silenced on Twitter every day. We’ve been working to counteract this for the past 2 years.
— jack (@jack) October 14, 2017
Though the company has taken some significant steps in the last few years to remove bad apples from its site, it has not been able to get rid of the impression that it is not trying hard enough.
To reveal the impact of online abuse against women, Amnesty included 4000 women from eight countries to partake in their survey in 2017 which highlighted that 76%of women who had encountered abuse or harassment on a social media platform made changes to how they use the platform.
Around 32% women stopped posting content on social media that expressed their opinion on certain issues
Twitter is not alone in grappling with the fact that their product has become a widespread channel to cause malevolence as Facebook is the latest example of how by not addressing the current issues at the right time a company will only suffer.
Twitter’s business model of beating media outlets from breaking the recent news increases the stakes for the social media site. The site’s ideology of free speech is becoming a weapon to shut up the voices speaking up on the platform.