Social network giants pledge to tackle abuse of women online | Online abuse

Four of the world’s largest social networks have committed to overhauling their moderation systems to tackle abuse of women on their platforms.

Facebook, Google, Twitter and TikTok have signed the pledge, led by the World Wide Web Foundation (WWWF), to fix persistent weaknesses in how we tackle gender-based violence online.

The announcement comes in the middle of a global forum for gender equality held by UN Women in Paris. It is backed by an open letter signed by past heads of state, global leaders such as Michelle Bachelet and Graca Machel, and celebrities including Annie Lennox, Ashley Judd, Gemma Chan and Maisie Williams, calling on companies to fully implement the commitments.

More than a third of women worldwide have experienced online abuse, and it nearly halved for young women, according to a 2021 study from the Economist Intelligence Unit. The four tech companies have pledged to address this breach by focusing on two main areas of concern across their platforms: women’s inability to control who can reply, comment, and interact with their posts; and the lack of clear and reliable reporting systems for reporting abuse online.

To improve the first area, known as regulation, companies have committed to offering users more granular settings to take care of their safety, for example by allowing them to block individuals from replying to posts without blocking them entirely, or allowing them to limit participation from specific posts.

They have also committed to using “more simple and accessible language through user experience” to improve access to security tools and proactively reduce the amount of abuse women see online.

When reporting, companies have committed to providing users with the ability to track and manage their reports once they’ve been prepared, and the ability to discern context and language that may change how a particular piece of content is interpreted.

They are also committed to providing more guidelines for users who wish to report abuse, to help ensure that issues are not dismissed simply because they fail to check the correct boxes in the social network’s internal systems.

Azmina Dhrodia, Senior Policy Director at WWWF, said: “For too long, women have been routinely harassed, attacked and then silenced in online spaces. This is a major threat to advances in gender equality. With their resources and access, these four companies have the power to reduce This abuse and improved online experiences for hundreds of millions of women and girls.

“Now, they have had the opportunity to work with leading experts from various sectors to co-create solutions that can lead to real change across the industry. The commitments they made today should be celebrated as a major victory and served as a stepping stone for companies to address abuse against women as a priority. utmost”.

Member of Parliament Don Butler, who took part in the WWWF’s investigation into online abuse, said: “As a black politician, I am abused more than my white peers. When that abuse comes, I silence my voice.”

I refuse to allow this to happen, but the level of abuse has forced me to close my office as I can no longer guarantee the safety of my team. At one point, the abuse got so bad that a member of my crew bought himself a stab jacket as a means of protection.”

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