Amnesty International takes on Twitter, says it violates women’s rights

San Francisco: Twitter is failing to respect women’s rights online by inadequately investigating and responding to reports of violence and abuse in a transparent manner, Amnesty International has alleged in its latest report.

For many women, Twitter is a platform where violence and abuse against them flourishes, often with little accountability, said the report titled #ToxicTwitter: Violence and abuse against women online” on Tuesday.

Far from strengthening women’s voices, the violence and abuse many women experience on the platform leads them to self-censor what they post, limit their interactions, and even drives women off the microblogging site completely.

The report based on interviews with 86 women — both individually and in groups – in Britain and the US cites several such abusive tweets mentioning Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland.

“Online abuse is unacceptable for women in politics, just as it’s unacceptable for a woman anywhere to suffer that kind of abuse,” Sturgeon was quoted as saying.

Abuse experienced by women on the platform includes direct or indirect threats of physical or sexual violence, discriminatory abuse targeting one or more aspects of a woman’s identity, targeted harassment, and privacy violations such as doxing or sharing sexual or intimate images of a woman without her consent, Amnesty International found after 16 months of research.

Twitter has touted itself as a place where “every voice has the power to impact the world” , but its failure to adequately respect human rights and effectively tackle violence and abuse on the platform means that instead of women using their voices “to impact the world”, many women are instead being pushed backwards to a culture of silence, the report said.

“As the world becomes increasingly connected online, our reliance on social media platforms such as Twitter has also become increasingly important. But the online world, and social media platforms like Twitter are not immune to many of the human rights abuses that women face offline,” it said. (Agencies)


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