Twitter has a hate speech problem, and the company is not working fast enough to solve it. U.K. Parliament’s Human Rights Committee addressed Twitter officials at a hearing yesterday mentioning the safety implications that Twitter’s policies have had on women.
Twitter’s Community Guidelines prohibit violence and harassment, but it has been found that the company disproportionately polices women’s comments against men.
“We are acutely aware of the unique experience women have on Twitter and changes we may have to make in our policies to get that right,” Twitter’s Head of U.K. government public policy Katy Minshall said at the hearing.
The issue is just as big of a problem in the U.S., especially for Black women. According to a report by Amnesty International and Element AI, women of color are 34 percent more likely to experience online harassment and threats. Black women are 84 percent more likely to be harassed on Twitter compared to white women.
The report also found that women politicians and journalists receive similar levels of online abuse on Twitter, a topic that was addressed by Parliamentarians like Joanna Cherry during the hearing.
Cherry presented examples of tweets where men threatened and posted violent pictures of women. Most of the tweets had not yet been removed from the platform. Cherry also compared the abusive tweets to removed posts from women that highlighted acts of male violence.
“We need to understand who is actually carrying out these decisions. Who is carrying out the mediation at Twitter?” Cherry asked Minshall. “Is it done in the UK, is it done in America, who is done by? Is there any attempt at gender balance within the teams of people looking at these tweets?”
“There is clearly a number of steps that we want to take, we need to take, but we are in a different place to where we were even this time last year,” said Minshall.
Twitter has a bias problem that it needs to fix internationally as vulnerable communities become increasingly targeted on the platform. So far, it doesn’t seem like Twitter has a grasp on the issue. As lawmakers around the world start to hold the platform accountable, we can expect to see Twitter’s Community Standards have unequal enforcement.