This assignment may expose you to tweets that include explicit sexist, racist, casteist, ethnic or religious slurs, homophobic language which you may find triggering, especially if you have experienced this kind of abuse online or offline in the past. Please consider this before participating.
About the project
Women in India have reported facing severe online violence on Twitter. However, the exact nature and scale of abuse in the Indian context is under-researched. Research shows that online abuse against women has an adverse effect on their political participation and impacts their public life. Online abuse is silencing - it leads women to self-censoring, limiting what they post, anonymizing their accounts, or leaving Twitter altogether. It also has a strong negative impact on mental well-being and perceptions of offline safety. Women who are from religious and ethnic minorities, transwomen, queer women, and Dalit women are especially affected.
Although Amnesty International, among many others, has undertaken extensive research on the extent of abuse on women politicians and journalists in the Global North, there is a dearth of research on forms of online abuse in the Global South. This project will aim to build that knowledge, specifically with a focus on #ToxicTwitter in India.
How it works
Amnesty has collected tens of thousands of tweets sent to women politicians in India. For each task, you’ll see a random anonymised tweet and you’ll be asked to identify whether it contains abusive content or problematic content. Most tweets are in English or Hindi, and you’ll be able to choose whether you’d like to decode in only one of those languages, or both.
Anyone with a mobile phone or computer can contribute. To get volunteers ready, we have prepared a video tutorial to show what to do, and there is also a ‘Help’ section to see more examples and a forum where you can ask our moderators and researchers for help and discuss with other Decoders.
Why this campain?
Women in India face gendered abuse from both individual stand-alone accounts and organised “troll armies”. The abuse faced by women politicians is aimed at silencing them and at discouraging their political participation. In the run-up to the elections, women leaders were called a number of hateful, sexist abuses including “Chudail (witch)”, “Rakhel” (concubine), and “Randi” (prostitute). They were subjected to racist, ethnic and religious slurs and have even been even threatened with rape and murder.
The timing of this project has been selected to study tweets to women politicians in the run-up and during the 2019 General Elections of India.
The Troll Patrol India project will help identify the volume and type of abusive and problematic tweets directed at these women politicians. It will form part of a larger research project where the data collected will be analysed to shed light on how these tweets may deter women from freely posting their views on Twitter and eventually how they instil fear in women contesting elections.
Impact of previous research
In 2018, Amnesty has led extensive research into online abuse against women politicians and journalists from the UK and USA. Troll Patrol was a joint effort by human rights researchers, technical experts and thousands of online volunteers to build the world’s largest crowd-sourced dataset of online abuse against women.
The findings revealed for the first time the sheer scale and nature of online abuse faced by women. We found that 7.1% of tweets sent to the women in the study were problematic or abusive. This amounts to 1.1 million problematic or abusive mentions of 778 women across the year, or one every 30 seconds on average. Women of colour, (black, Asian, Latinx and mixed-race women) were 34% more likely to be mentioned in abusive or problematic tweets than white women. Black women were disproportionately targeted, being 84% more likely than white women to be mentioned in abusive or problematic tweets.
Troll Patrol India is an Amnesty Decoders project. Amnesty Decoders is a global network of digital volunteers for human rights research. Already there are more than 50,000 volunteers from more than 150 countries.
Troll Patrol India is part of an investigation into abuse and silencing of women online, conducted by Amnesty International India and Amnesty International HQ. It follows on from Amnesty’s earlier Decoders project focused on the US and UK.
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.
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