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Social media and threats against women journalists

Twitter and Facebook mentioned as major platforms for threats against women journalists

Twitter and Facebook are identified as the major platforms for online threats by a majority of women journalists who have faced online harassment in connection with their work. Email was the third with abuse increasing on YouTube, TikTok and Instagram, a survey by association Women in Journalism and UK publisher Reach shows.

One fifth of women journalists say online threats have made them consider leaving the media. 75% say they have experienced threats or challenges to their safety online or in person.

A quarter have experienced some kind of sexual harassment or sexual violence in connection with their work.

Almost half of the respondents say they have promoted their work less online due to threats of online harm.

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One fifth say they have been harassed or sustained abuse or stalking in connection with their work. Hate speech, backlash or pile-on and personal comments were the most reported, More than one third reported being threatened or intimidated face- to-face at some point during their career,

Almost half of respondents said they have exerienced misogyny or harm connected to their gender or gender identity.

This report makes it clear that without decisive action to support staff and freelance contributors, there is a real risk that women working in journalism and media will leave their roles or choose to fade into the background online. Women in Journalism said commenting on the survey.

“The comments provided by participants also highlighted a frustration about the lack of accountability of social media platforms but also suggested a sense of resignation – many participants alluded to online harm being ‘part of the job’ and suggested there was little that could be done by individuals when social platforms refused to take action.”

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