200,000 aggressive and misogynistic tweets sent over three week period, research shows

Both male and female users were found to be responsible for the abusive tweets

aggressive, misogynistic, research, demos, UK, social, media, twitter

Image: Dominic Lipinski / PA Wire/Press Association Images

A new study in the UK has shown the scale of aggressive and abusive tweets sent by both men and women.

The research, carried out by think tank Demos, looked at explicitly agressive and abusive uses of the phrases ‘slut’ and ‘whore’ over a three week period.

The researchers say that in the UK alone around 6,500 unique users were targeted by 10,000 aggressive and misogynistic tweets. Internationally, it increased to 200,000 aggressive tweets sent to 80,000 users.

Demos says that that both male and female users were found to be responsible for the abuse, with 50% of the propagators said to be women.

The misogynistic tweets are said to have been separated from "instances of self-identification, and those that were more conversational in tone or commenting on issues related to misogyny".

Alex Krasodomski-Jones of Demos said that aggressive tweets can be a "very personal and often traumatic experience for women".

He explained that: "While we have focused on Twitter, who are considerably more generous in sharing their data with researchers like us, it’s important to note that misogyny is prevalent across all social media, and we must make sure that the other big tech companies are also involved in discussions around education and developing solutions.

"This is less about policing the internet than it is a stark reminder that we are frequently not as good citizens online as we are offline.”

Mr Krasodomski-Jones told The New Statesman that the research constitutes "an incredibly limited view of misogyny online. This is by no means a complete picture".

Last year, a leaked memo saw former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo tell employees that "we suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we've sucked at it for years. 

"It's no secret and the rest of the world talks about it every day. We lose core user after core user by not addressing simple trolling issues that they face every day," he added.

The social network has since introduced a number of new measures in a bid to counter abuse and trolling, including sending phone verification messages to individuals suspected of being repeat offenders. Twitter users have also been given access to more robust tools for reporting abuse and blocking accounts.

It has also established a Twitter Trust and Safety Council, tasked with making the micro-blogging site a place where "anyone, anywhere can express themselves safely and confidently."