Our army of digital volunteers exposed abuse silencing women on #ToxicTwitter

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Project Results

Amnesty Decoders: Troll Patrol is complete! Thanks to the efforts of our Decoders, we can conduct innovative research into online abuse against woman and help make those reponsible accountable.


This effort helped us analyse a representative sample of tweets sent to 1,000 women politicians and journalists over one year.


That's more than enough decoders to fill the entire Royal Albert Hall


Most Decoders came from Nigeria, United States, Pakistan, United Kingdom and Canada


Pageviews of the Amnesty Decoders discussion forum


That’s the equivalent of someone working full-time for 1.5 years.


Number of posts to the Amnesty Decoders discussion forum

What’s next?

With the help of thousands of Decoders, we analysed a representative sample of tweets that were sent to 1,000 women politicians and journalists over one year period. This will help us conduct an unprecedented large scale analysis of abuse against women on Twitter.

We are working with a team of data scientists to validate and analyse all the data submitted by Decoders. We are also experimenting with the latest machine learning technologies to scale up the analysis to more than 6 million tweets.

Watch this space for an upcoming report and interactive visualisation of the results.


Expose sexist, racist and other forms of abuse against women on #ToxicTwitter

Twitter prides itself as a place where everyone has “the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers”. In March 2018, it tweeted that it “stands with women to make their voices heard”. And yet, the right for women to freely express themselves is routinely silenced by toxic abuse on the platform. This abuse is compounded for women from minority racial, ethnic or religious backgrounds; not to mention women with disabilities; or lesbian, trans and bisexual women or people who don’t conform to gender norms of male and female. Ultimately, the scale and intensity of the abuse can and does drive women off Twitter - often costing them the networks they’ve painstakingly built on the platform.

Twitter is not doing enough to check this abuse. It won’t tell us how much abuse women report on Twitter, nor will it say how it responds to those reports. If Twitter doesn’t measure this problem, how can it fix it? And how can we help without understanding the true scale of the problem? Well, this is where you come in.

Join the discussion

When I did a series of blog posts about police killings of black people I got tweets and comments saying I am an ‘ugly fat black b*tch and that I deserve to die’

Amnesty exposes alarming impact of online abuse against women

New research by Amnesty International has revealed the silencing impact that toxic abuse on Twitter is having on women. Amnesty spoke to women journalists, activists, writers and bloggers who all reported horrific abuse on Twitter and the platform’s failure to contain it.

The result is women censoring what they post, limiting their interactions, or being driven off Twitter completely. At a watershed moment when women around the world are using their collective power to amplify their voices through social media platforms, Twitter’s failure to consistently and transparently enforce its own community standards to tackle violence and abuse means that women are being pushed backwards towards a culture of silence.


Amnesty Decoders: Troll Patrol was the fifth project for the Amnesty Decoders - a global network of digital volunteers for human rights research. Already there are more than 50,000 volunteers from more than 150 countries.

This project was developed in collaboration with Focal Labs. Powered by Hive, a modular, flexible, open-source platform developed by the New York Times and Discourse, an open source discussion platform.

Amnesty International would like to thank all the volunteers who have helped so far with this project. Shout out to our team of moderators @Ingewiel, @hanny123, @mouki, @tracey_kramer, @natha_07. And a special thank you to our most active community members @Angel64, @chiaroscuro, @FaristaSairuv, @JenniAitch, @PaulT, @MAQ, @TreesPoshy, @Fritz, @Jackninja5, @ahmedriaz773, @CCH, @K5L, @LikesCatsDogs and many others for their passionate, helpful discussion on the forum. Decoders is people power at its best and we truly couldn't have done it without you.

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