Auditing Twitter’s Harassment Policies


When people experience harassment online, from individual threats or invective to coordinated campaigns of harassment, they have the option to report the harassers and content to the platform where the harassment has occurred. How do tech companies to respond to these reports?

In this project, I led a team to analyze data collected by Women, Action, and the Media to audit how Twitter responded to reports of online harassment. I later wrote about the project in greater detail in an Atlantic Article: The Tragedy of the Digital Commons. This early audit of tech platform policies whetted my appetite for research that holds technology companies accountable for the power they exercise in the world.

This project was conducted by: J. Nathan Matias, Amy Johnson, Whitney Erin Boesel, Brian Keegan, Jaclyn Friedman, Charlie DeTar