Investigating Threats of Violence on Twitter
Twitter has frequently come under fire due to their blase approach to content moderation, specifically violent threat moderation. For instance, four prominent female members of the U.S. Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib have repeatedly faced threats of violence from users on Twitter but have reported not receiving adequate support from the platform in removing them. In this project we investigate the violent threats that women in politics recieve as a starting point to ask: what are the types and forms of threats women politicians receive and how does being a target of such threats influence their participation in public discourse online?
Using the Twitter API, we are collecting and labeling a large corpus of violent threat tweets specifically targeting women in politics. Engaging various philosophical lenses of free speech, sociological work on misogynistic language and legal analyses of intent and speech, we aim to understand how such threats of violence are formed, interpreted and acted upon. The research put forth could further be used to potentially enhance the violent threat moderation that occurs at Twitter.
2020 - 2021
Dr. Nassim Parvin