While Facebook gets it in the neck over a shocking breach of its users’ personal info, let’s not forget about the problems plaguing rival social network Twitter.
For years, there have been complaints, especially from women, people of colour and members of the LGBT+ community, that Twitter bosses haven’t done enough to tackle abuse. High-profile figures including Labour MPs Diane Abbot and Dawn Butler have spoken out about this many, many times:
Now things have become so bad that human rights group Amnesty International are stepping in to tackle Twitter abuse themselves, after highlighting the scale of the problem in their #ToxicTwitter report.
As part of a new project called ‘Troll Patrol,’ the group are looking for volunteers to sign up to help them monitor and report signs of abuse or harassment. So far, 1,528 people have signed up to take part – and you can too by heading over here.
Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK, said in a statement: “It’s clear that Twitter has become a toxic place for women. For far too long Twitter has been a space where women can too easily be confronted with death or rape threats, and where their genders, ethnicities and sexual orientations are under attack.
“Recently we’ve seen a great wave of solidarity and activism from women around the world, and social media platforms have an important role in movements like #MeToo. But women must be able to speak out without fear of violence and abuse.
“The trolls are currently winning, because despite repeated promises, Twitter is failing to do enough to stop them. Twitter must take concrete steps to address and prevent violence and abuse against women on its platform, otherwise its claim to be on women’s side is meaningless.”
In response, Twitter said it “cannot delete hatred and prejudice from society”, and explained it had made more than 30 changes to its platform in the past 16 months to improve safety, including increasing the instances of action it takes on abusive tweets.
Azmina Dhrodia, Technology and Human Rights Researcher at Amnesty, said: “Twitter has repeatedly tried to shift attention away from its own responsibilities by focusing on the wider issue of hatred and prejudice in society. We are not asking them to solve the world’s problems. We are asking them to make concrete changes that truly demonstrate that abuse against women is not welcome on Twitter.”
There’s a ridiculously long way to go but Amnesty’s efforts are a fantastic start. We wish them well.