Is Twitter a platform for racism and abusive language?
This is the question that was posed when Think Tank Demos conducted a research on 126,975 English-language tweets. Serious revelations come into place, and probably some of which some Twitter users may identify with. Most used racist phrase was “white boy” according to the research. This is the biggest study ever on racism. It was undertaken within a 9-day period in which all tweets containing racial slurs were analysed.
However, the research also shows that most of the slurs were used in a non-derogatory way. Even so, the research indicates that it’s difficult to know what a tweet actually means when this racial terms are used.
Context is king, and often it’s more or less lost on Twitter.
‘There were very few cases that presented an imminent threat of violence, or where individuals directly or indirectly incited offline violent action,’ the report’s authors said.
According to a Twitter spokes person who attended the event, Twitter Rules outline content boundaries on the social media platform and as such, targeted abuse and specific threats of violence are violations of Twitter rules. Users can report this type of content from within the Twitter application.