Initial tweet valence, abuse volume, and observer Dark Tetrad characteristics influence perceptions of female celebrity abuse on Twitter

Christopher J. Hand*, Joanne Ingram, Kayleigh Glover, Zara P. Brodie, Graham G. Scott

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Research into relationships between victim-generated content, abuse received, and observer characteristics when considering Twitter abuse has been limited to male victims. We evaluated participant perceptions of female celebrity victims and abuse received on Twitter. We used a 3 (Initial Tweet Valence; negative, neutral, positive) × 2 (Abuse Volume; low, high) repeated measures design and online survey method. Participants were shown tweets generated by six female celebrities, counterbalanced such that each participant saw each celebrity in one Valence-Volume condition. Stimuli were presented across six ‘lists’ such that celebrity ‘victims’ could be rotated across Valence-Volume pairings. Participants rated—per target stimulus—the level of blame attributable to the victim and the perceived severity of the incident. Furthermore, participants were asked to complete a Dark Tetrad scale—measuring their Machiavellianism, Narcissism, Psychopathy, and Sadism. Analyses determined that victim-blaming was influenced by victim Initial Tweet Valence (greater victim-blaming associated with more-negative content) and observer Machiavellianism. Perceived severity was influenced by victim Initial Tweet Valence, Volume of Abuse received, and observer Machiavellianism. Results were consistent with previous research involving male celebrity victims. Further research is needed to understand the contributions of participants’ hostile and benevolent sexism, as well as the role of victim attractiveness.
Original languageEnglish
Article number11507
Number of pages9
JournalScientific Reports
Volume14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2024

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