Half of explicitly aggressive and misogynistic tweets containing abusive words are posted by women in the UK, a new study has found.
The study, which specifically monitored the use of the words ‘slut’ and ‘whore’ by UK Twitter users over a three-week period, found 6,500 unique users were targeted by 10,000 explicitly aggressive and misogynistic tweets, researchers said.
Internationally, over 200,000 aggressive tweets using the same terms were sent to 80,000 people in the same three weeks, they said.
In the new study, 50 per cent of the propagators were found to be women, they said.
“This study provides a birds-eye snapshot of what is ultimately a very personal and often traumatic experience for women,” said Alex Krasodomski-Jones from Demos.
Using sophisticated in-house technology, researchers from think tank Demos built algorithms to separate tweets being used in explicitly aggressive ways, instances of self-identification, and those that were more conversational in tone or commenting on issues related to misogyny (such as referring to ‘slut shaming’, ‘slut walks’).
The study builds on previous research, which found that ‘slut’ and ‘whore’ dominate misogynistic language on Twitter, and that both male and female users are responsible for the abuse, researchers said.