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How Well Do Your Favorite Social Media Sites Deal With Online Harassment?

Still A Way To Go To Protect Women Online

A report, conducted by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), gives us a very bleak view of what Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are actually doing to protect their users against online harassment and more specifically violence against women. In response to the results of this report, APC have launched a campaign called Take Back the Tech.



What are Facebook, Twitter and YouTube actually doing against online harassment?

One of the main issues that the report underlines is that Facebook and Twitter fail to take a stand against violence against women perpetuated online until it becomes a public scandal. Women's rights are ignored until it becomes a public relations problem, until something might taint their reputation - an issue not unique to these major sites. YouTube does even worse and has taken no stance on protecting its users online.

It also appears that there is a real lack of transparency on how to report harassment but also how theses complaints are being dealt with. Who receives them? What sort of training do these people have? Are they properly qualified to identify online harassment and violence? All these questions Faebook and Twitter leave unanswered. Furthermore,there is no clear information on what to do if you are a victim of technology related violence. Facebook and Twitter do provide some sort of information and Twitter will cooperate with law enforcement. YouTube yet again is behind, failing to provide any information on law enforcement cooperation.

What this report highlights is that Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are clearly not doing enough to protect their users. YouTube being the worst one of the lot, which seems even more shocking in light of the recent Youtuber sex scandal. All three need to take a public stance towards defending not only women but also all their users against violence and online harassment. These websites also need to start sharing how they deal with complaints and how they determine whether or not to ban a user. Only then can there be a real steps taken towards reducing violence against women and promoting women's rights online.

Some may argue that the reason these websites work is thanks to freedom of speech. But like in the real world, people should be protected against violent threats, bullying and the diffusion of content that is outright offensive.

Want to get involved? You can rate how you think Facebook, Twitter and YouTube deal with these issues here. Or you can add anonymously to Take Back The Tech's map of online harassment and violence here,


Laura is a recent graduate from University of East Anglia in Film and Television Studies, currently interning as a content writer but hoping to one day live off her writing. Follow her @LauraAtSMF.

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How Well Do Your Favorite Social Media Sites Deal With Online Harassment? Reviewed by Laura Veit on Friday, September 19, 2014 Rating: 5
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