Twitter is being used increasingly for abusive online behavior and trolling. Potential suitors are probably not acquiring the social network because of its problem with trolls. A recent Bloomberg report claimed that Walt Disney decided against acquiring the micro-blogging site because of hateful and bullying communications on the social media platform.
Twitter’s approach to blame
Twitter has tried to control and reduce the hateful comments, tweets, attacks and pictures, but it has still not been able to solve the problem. In July, the micro-blogging giant rolled out a new block feature that was expected to reduce some of the problems; however, that did not happen.
In an interview with Mashable, Dr. Sameer Hinduja, co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center and a professor at the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida Atlantic University, said it seems as if trolling on the micro-blogging network is on the rise, but most research shows that the rate of cyber-bullying has held quite steady across all platforms.
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Hinduja said that most of the abuse continues on the platform because Twitter’s approach has been nominal to the issue, and the threat of sanction or apprehension or detection is pretty slim. The expert further pointed out that those with disabilities, sexual orientation minorities and ethnic minorities are frequently on the receiving end of bullying and trolls on the social network.
Twitter trolls certain groups bear the brunt
Recently Digiday published some charts that analyzed online abusive behavior and discovered that certain groups bear the brunt of abuse and hatred, notes Mashable. The charts show anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic and misogynistic tweets by the numbers.
The Anti-Defamation League looked through the numbers of anti-Semitic abuse and tweets just last week. They found astonishing results. Jewish journalists or users assumed to be Jewish saw an abuse in online abuse and trolling, notes Mashable.
Also British think-tank Demos tracked anti-Muslim and xenophobic posts. More than 16,000 tweets using a term related to an anti-immigrant attitude or xenophobia were discovered between June 19 and July 1. Between March 18 and June 30, Demos found more than 4.1 million tweets which could be considered anti-Islamic, according to Mashable.
Brandwatch, in another study, analyzed negative rhetoric toward women and found that misogynistic insults jumped at some points on the micro-blogging giant. Michael Nuccitelli, a New York state licensed psychologist and forensic consultant, told Mashable that online abuse has evolved over the years. He said that eight to ten years ago, internet trolls would just annoy someone and incite them, but now the purpose is to decimate someone’s online reputation.