UK

Male Celebs Are The Main Target For Twitter Trolls, But Female Journalists Get Worse Deal

24/08/2014 15:16 BST | Updated 24/08/2014 15:59 BST

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

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.

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% of those sent to male celebrities included abuse, compared to 1.37% aimed at female celebrities.

piers morgan

Male celebrities like Piers Morgan get more Twitter abuse than female counterparts

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.

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% of the tweets containing the @ username of male public figures contained abuse, compared to only 0.95% 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.

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."

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