Does Twitter Violate Human Rights
with Amnesty International’s Azmina Dhrodia
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In the past few years, we have had a number of shoes dealing with the online abuse, especially for women and journalists, including:
- CLBR #225: Online Trolls with Fusion’s Kristen V. Brown (June 22, 2016); and
- CLBR #262: TrollBusters Founder Michelle Ferrier (June 14, 2017).
In March this year, Amnesty International released a landmark report on its 16-month investigation of abuse of women in Twitter entitled “ToxicTwitter: Violence and Abuse against Women Online”, which charges that Twitter’s failure to safeguard women on its platform is a human rights violation.
(See detailed summary – Amnesty Int’l Report: Twitter’s Failure to Protect Women from Online Abuse Violates Human Rights Law.)
[F]or many women, Twitter is a platform where violence and abuse against them flourishes, often with little accountability. As a company, Twitter is failing in its responsibility to respect women’s rights online by inadequately investigating and responding to reports of violence and abuse in a transparent manner.
The violence and abuse many women experience on Twitter has a detrimental effect on their right to express themselves equally, freely and without fear. Instead of strengthening women’s voices, the violence and abuse many women experience on the platform leads women to self-censor what they post, limit their interactions, and even drives women off Twitter completely.
The Report found that:
- The Abuse is Silencing Women’s Voices on Twitter
A report by the National Democratic Institute explained the consequences of self-censorship. ,
By silencing and excluding the voices of women and other marginalized groups, online harassment fundamentally challenges both women’s political engagement and the integrity of the information space….In these circumstances, women judge that the costs and danger of participation outweigh the benefits, and withdraw from or choose not to enter the political arena at all.
- The Abuse Imposes Psychological Costs
- Twitter Knows it Has a Problem
Former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo:
We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we’ve sucked at it for years…
- Twitter’s Failure to Address This Problem is a Human Rights Violation
Social media companies have a responsibility to respect human rights, including the right to freedom of expression. They need to ensure that women using their platforms are able to do so freely and without fear. — Azmina Dhrodia, Amnesty International
Amnesty International is a global movement of more than 7 million people who take injustice personally. They are campaigning for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all.
CLBR #299: The Battle to Free Raif Badawi with Brandon Silver (Apr. 25, 2018)
See also Raif Badawi and the Myth of Saudi Liberalization
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