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Male celebs such as Piers Morgan and Ricky Gervais receive more Twitter abuse than women

By Herald Express  |  Posted: August 24, 2014

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Male public figures are several times more likely than women to receive abuse on Twitter, according to social media analysis.

The think-tank Demos analysed more than 2million tweets over a two-week period that were sent to a selection of the most prominent and widely-followed public figures on Twitter.

The study included celebrities, politicians, journalists and musicians – specifically chosen to ensure an equal number - roughly one million - were aimed at each gender.

It found:

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2.54% of the tweets containing the @ username of male public figures contained abuse, compared to only 0.95% of the tweets received by prominent women.

Over 1 in 20 (5.19%) of the tweets sent to male celebrities included abuse, compared with 1 in 70 (1.37%) aimed at female celebrities.

Journalism is 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.

Men were much more likely to troll public figures via social media. Three-quarters of the abuse received by prominent men, and over 60% of abuse received by women, was tweeted by men.

Piers Morgan, Ricky Gervais and Katie Hopkins were three of the most likely celebrities to receive abuse.

The study was conducted using software co-developed by researchers from Demos and also academics from the University of Sussex.

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.

Research director for the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media (CASM) at Demos, Carl Miller, who co-authored the report 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.

“Politicians need to fully understand a problem before they can solve it: CASM is currently developing this field - social media science - to make it an ethical and effective part of decision-making."

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