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Women, Girls Draw 25 Times More Malicious Chat Messages

Internet chat room users with female names are 25 times more likely to receive threatening and sexually-explicit private messages than those armed with male or ambiguous monikers, a university study reported Tuesday.

According to research conducted by a University of Maryland professor and one of his computer engineering students, female usernames in IRC (Internet Rely Chat) rooms received an average of 163 malicious private messages each day, while male and ambiguous usernames were targeted by an average of just 4 and 25 daily messages, respectively.

"Some messages to female usernames were innocuous, while others were sexually explicit or threatening," said sophomore computer engineering student Robert Meyer in a statement.

An example of one of the tamer messages received in the study: "[10:43] [DanMan] Do u need money? Looking for someone who does not mind providing personal intimate services. $150/hr. Serious offer. 178 74 male 29 here. Interested pls intro?)."

Meyer and assistant professor Michel Cukier created bots that simulated users for one part of the study, then posed as users with female and male names in a second stage.

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