Atalanta in The Hill: "A new hurdle for female politicians in the digital age"

“It’s tempting to see this [online abuse] as just a technological problem that social media companies bear the responsibility to address” writes Atalanta Founder & CEO Eva Barboni in a recent op-ed for The Hill. Based on findings from Atalanta’s most recent report, “(Anti)Social Media: The Benefits and Pitfalls for Female Politicians,” the op-ed addresses the impact of online abuse on female politicians. She writes:

What is said online reflects what people think and feel offline. The toolset we used for our research — BrandsEye, an opinion-mining company headquartered in Cape Town, South Africa  — was used to accurately predict the outcomes of both the Brexit vote and the 2016 U.S. presidential election, illustrating the power of online sentiment-mining to expose underlying public opinion…

Social media has simultaneously made it easier than ever to access politicians, while distancing people from viewing them as real human beings. 

Many of the women with whom we spoke told us that the harassment has a detrimental effect on their professional and personal lives. From delegitimizing them as leaders, to curbing what they say and share online, to forcing them to implement security measures in the face of credible threats, it takes a heavy toll. And, for women who haven’t yet stuck their head above the parapet, the prospect of online abuse and threats can make them think twice.

Read more in The Hill.

Eva Barboni