On 13th May, Amnesty International India launched Troll Patrol India, a project that will engage digital volunteers to analyse abusive tweets aimed at women politicians during the 2019 General Elections of India.
While both men and women politicians face online abuse, women politicians face abuse that is often gendered due to their political participation. Women from religious and ethnic minorities, transwomen, queer women, and Dalit women are further targeted due to their marginalized status.
“Online abuse silences women – it leads to self-censorship, limiting what women post, or leads to them leaving Twitter altogether”, said Reena Tete, Manager, Gender and Identity, Amnesty India. “It also has a strong negative impact on mental well-being and perceptions of offline safety.”
However, the exact nature and scale of abuse in the Indian context is under-researched. This project seeks to build an evidence base on the extent and nature of online abuse faced by prominent women politicians in India and its effect on their freedom of expression.
This project will engage 2000 Decoders drawn from across the country to analyse thousands of tweets before, during and after elections. In 2017, Amnesty International conducted Troll Patrol in eight countries including the US and the UK where it found that 7.1% or 1.1 million tweets sent to women across political spectrum were “problematic” or “abusive”. In light of this, Amnesty International recommended Twitter to usher in more transparency by putting out disaggregated data on the categories of abuse reported by women and the nature of Twitter’s response to such abuse. This project seeks to apply the same methodology to examine tweets in India.
 “Twitter is an important online space for women to express themselves. And all efforts must be taken to prevent the spread of toxicity, hate and violence against women on the platform”, said Reena Tete.
Troll Patrol India has been launched with a call for engaging volunteers for the decoding project here:
For further information or comments, please contact: Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332