Twitter stock tumbles after getting dubbed 'Harvey Weinstein of social media'

Twitter
On December 18, an Amnesty International study said that on an average, women receive an abusive or problematic tweet every 30 seconds. Photo: AP via PTI
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San Francisco: The Twitter stock nosedived over 12 per cent after a famed Wall Street analyst dubbed the micro-blogging platform the "Harvey Weinstein of social media", days after an Amnesty International study found Twitter a "toxic" place for women.

In a note to investors, online investment newsletter Citron Research's founder Andrew Left called the platform the "Harvey Weinstein of social media" and set a low target price of $20, TechCrunch reported.

Left cited the latest study by Amnesty that found Twitter was "a toxic place for women", particularly women of colour, politicians and journalists.

"Citron has been following Twitter for years and when we read the just-published piece from Amnesty International, we immediately knew the stock had become uninvestable and advertisers will soon be forced to take a hard look at all sponsorships with Twitter," Citron wrote in its report.

On December 18, an Amnesty International study said that on an average, women receive an abusive or problematic tweet every 30 seconds.

"Women of colour (Black, Asian, Latinx and mixed-race women) were 34 per cent more likely to be mentioned in abusive or problematic tweets than White women," showed the findings.

In his research note, Citron's Left said that "we immediately knew the stock had become uninvestable and advertisers will soon be forced to take a hard look at all sponsorships with Twitter".

Left added that "this story has just begun and advertisers will be forced to make more morality-based brand building decisions".

Twitter reacted to Citron's note, saying it's been working to reign in the kind of abuses that the Amnesty report criticised them for.

"Our abusive behaviour policy strictly prohibits behaviour that harasses, intimidates or silences another user's voice," a Twitter spokesperson told TechCrunch.

Vijaya Gadde who is Legal, Policy and Trust and Safety Global Lead at Twitter also defended the company, claiming that it wasn't clear how Amnesty defined abusive language in the report.

"I would note that the concept of 'problematic' content for the purposes of classifying content is one that warrants further discussion. It is unclear how (Amnesty has) defined or categorized such content, or if (they) are suggesting it should be removed from Twitter," Gadde said in a statement.

The Amnesty study, however, defined "problematic content" as content that is hurtful or hostile, especially if repeated to an individual on multiple or cumulative occasions, but not as intense as an abusive tweet.

In its study, Amnesty International said that one in 10 tweets mentioning Black women politicians and journalists in a sample analysed by the organisation was abusive or problematic.

"We found that although abuse is targeted at women across the political spectrum, women of colour were much more likely to be impacted, and black women are disproportionately targeted," Milena Marin, Senior Advisor for Tactical Research at Amnesty International said in a statement.

"Twitter's failure to crack down on this problem means it is contributing to the silencing of already marginalised voices," Marin added.

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