Amid a growing number of complaints about online abuse and violence targeting women, Amnesty International has drafted a report and launched a special campaign under the hashtag #ToxicTwitter to bring the issue to the limelight.
Having interviewed over 80 women, including public figures like politicians, journalists, along with average Twitter users, the London-based human rights watchdog has found that Twitter is repeatedly failing to address abuse and violence against women, thereby disrespecting their human rights.
Internet users, naturally, weighed in on the debate straight away. Under the hashtag #ToxicTwitter, both men and women rushed to have their say.
A number of men notably remarked that the accusations by Amnesty are far-fetched and to a great extent hyped:
Those of us who spend our time in female dominated environments know the glorious truth, women can be just as mean as men https://t.co/jBnteifqyo— Scipio_Afrikanus (@Magcart1215) 21 марта 2018 г.
A number of people made an attempt to bust the accusations against Twitter, saying that men get the most virtual abuse on the social platform — something that is frequently disregarded by women. One user thinks women play double, as they generally struggle for equality but simultaneously "whine" about online abuse and disrespect:
Only women get abuse online, no-one else does.— 6old Digger☄️ (@6oldDigger) 21 марта 2018 г.
Similar to how only women suffer from violence, poverty, cancer, homelessness, sexual harassment, etc.
Are you seeing the pattern of narcissism yet?#ToxicTwitter
To all the feminists whining about #ToxicTwitter: 1) You don't get the most abuse online. 2) Men do, and you don't care about it. 3) Women are more abusive to other women than men are. 4) We thought you wanted equality? You can't have it both ways. #Equality #MeToo pic.twitter.com/xl9q7UAxQe— Frank Haviland 🇬🇧 (@Frankhaviland) 21 марта 2018 г.
Most of internet users seem to share Amnesty’s point of view, whereas others chose to determine first who should be considered "toxic" users.
Some single out right-wing enthusiasts as the least tolerant and patient ones, whereas there are those saying a belligerent attitude can be observed in all political camps and in people of different walks of life:
Astonishes me how people say it's only the far-right who intimidate and rant on Twitter. Both sides are toxic.— Adam Ford (@Fordis_) 21 марта 2018 г.
Others have called to post nothing at all or…. cute furry cats if there is nothing else positive to share with the on-line community.
#TimesUp for #ToxicTwitter— Evie the Cat (@HMCabinetCat) 21 марта 2018 г.
Everyone has the basic right to live their life free from abuse, either offline or online
If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all! pic.twitter.com/qCywFfLZUW
One user, however, has come to believe that Facebook is way more toxic than Twitter:
I sincerely hope with all my heart for the "toxic netizens from facebook" to never reach the twitter world. Pray with me everybody.— Alonzo Tigerheart (@otephowee) 21 марта 2018 г.
Some see the online verbal abuse issue as just the tip of the iceberg:
The testimony of female users that the report – also titled #ToxicTwitter – is based on, sheds light on the horrid nature of cursing and abuse that they receive on Twitter, including death and rape threats, as well as racist and homophobic comments.
First Minister @NicolaSturgeon tells our political correspondent @Political_AlanS that "it is time to call out" social media abuse against women. She's backing Amnesty International's #ToxicTwitter campaign. pic.twitter.com/VHoLuDmNYK— Radio Forth News (@RadioForthNews) 21 марта 2018 г.
The survey that Amnesty did in the run-up to the report found that of the over 1,000 British women polled, 78 percent denied Twitter being the right place to speak out, due to the platform’s inability to deal with the abuse issue.
Twitter say they’ll remove targeted accounts but they don’t I should know I’ve reported dozens, even when those accounts made sexually deviant comments about my children they’ve still been slow to remove them, that’s why the @amnesty research into #ToxicTwitter is so important— Allison Morris (@AllisonMorris1) 21 марта 2018 г.
"It’s clear that Twitter has become a toxic place for women… The trolls are currently winning, because despite repeated promises, Twitter is failing to do enough to stop them," said Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK, according to the NGO’s press release.