Men get more Twitter abuse than women

Comedian Ricky Gervais received 1,190 abusive tweets over a two-week period. Photo / AP
Comedian Ricky Gervais received 1,190 abusive tweets over a two-week period. Photo / AP

Male celebrities get more Twitter abuse than women, but men are also more likely to hurl abuse, a study shows.

A two-week study of 2,006,616 tweets that were sent to some high-profile and widely-followed public figures on Twitter shows that 5.19 per cent of those sent to male celebrities included abuse, compared to 1.37 per cent aimed at female celebrities.

The think tank Demos and academics from the University of Sussex developed software which looked at the accounts of celebrities, politicians, journalists and musicians, which were equally split between the number of male and female famous faces. They ranged from journalist Piers Morgan through to singers Rita Ora and Jessie J plus former Cabinet minister Barones Warsi.

Read also:
Jennifer Aniston stays at home to avoid cyber bullying
Ed Sheeran's grumpy airport tweet riles fans

Being outspoken meant that journalist Piers Morgan, comic Ricky Gervais and former Apprentice contestant Katie Hopkins were three of the most likely celebrities to receive abuse.

It was found that 2.54 per cent of the tweets containing the username of male public figures contained abuse, compared to only 0.95 per cent of the tweets received by prominent women.

Of the 94,528 messages for Morgan 8,258 were abusive while 1,190 of the 45,815 messages received by Ricky Gervais were abusive.

Jessie J had to put up with 263 abusive messages among the 322,433 she received, while 183 tweets to Rita Ora out of 110,089 were offensive - but as performers who seek to entertain rather than provoke a reaction the study found that it was celebrities who faced the lowest levels of abuse.


Singer Jessie J received 263 abusive messages out of 322,433 tweets in a two-week period. Photo / Getty Images

Journalism was the only category where women received more abuse than men, with female journalists and TV news presenters receiving roughly three times as much abuse as their male counterparts.

The results mark the launch of a Demos report - Vox Digitas - investigating how the wealth of data on social media can increasingly be used to monitor trends in public attitudes.

Report co-author Carl Miller said: "Receiving criticism has long been part and parcel of being in the public eye. But Twitter is providing newer, more direct ways, for the public to hurl abuse at celebrities and prominent personalities.

"We found that not only are men more often the target of this abuse, but are also more likely to be the ones behind the attacks.

"Social media is now an important part of social life and researching it is vital to understand the world that we now live in. It allows us to gather more evidence about society and politics than ever before, spot emerging problems, and, above all help us know what to do about them."

- AAP

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 29 Nov 2014 18:20:55 Processing Time: 523ms