Take Back the Tech! campaign starts targeting Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

Jul 21 (Take Back the Tech!)

PRESS STATEMENT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

What are you doing about violence against women? That’s what we are asking Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. We invite users to join the campaign beginning 21 July to demand answers and action.

Women visit social media sites more often than men and spend more time on them. Women send more tweets and share more posts. Women drive content, advertising and engagement, but by simply showing up on these platforms, they also face violence, with little support on the part of companies that profit from women. In more than 4,000 cases of cyberstalking reported to Halt Online Abuse since 2000, 70% of victims were female.

These sites have made some effort to respond to user concerns, but they haven’t done enough, especially for women outside of the narrow scope of the US and Europe.

“Our research and our work with women around the world has shown us that many social media platforms do not respond adequately to women facing violence online. With this campaign, we want to amplify women’s voices on this issue and find solutions that work,” explains Sara Baker, Take Back the Tech! campaign coordinator.

Through mapping activities and research, many cases from all the world have been collected that show the continuum between offline and online violence against women that these social media platforms companies are not addressing informedly, consistently and seriously enough. Some of the cases speak for themselves:

A 16-year-old girl agreed to be photographed naked by her ex-boyfriend. A few days later, the pictures were published on his Facebook account and the news circulated in the community: Everyone knew about it. His family told him to remove the photos to which he replied saying he did not post the photos, and suspected that someone hacked his Facebook account. The girl believed that he was lying but could not prove it.

A student teacher was subjected to hacking and photomontage in a pornographic video labelled with her city and occupation. On two occasions, she was accosted by men on the street who said they had seen her naked. One of her friends contacted the porn website and had the video removed; however, there are still images of her circulating on similar web pages.

The life of this 13-year-old girl was turned upside down when her older sister’s boyfriend began to sexually harass her and threaten her by cell phone, ultimately abducting her. For three months, she was deprived of her liberty, beaten and sexually abused. When she was finally able to escape, she and her mother registered a complaint for kidnapping and corruption of a minor with the prosecution service. The latest news was that the aggressor had not been found.

We need to promote transparency and safe spaces. So we are targeting the big three. We want Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to take a clear stand on violence against women in their terms of service, and to engage with diverse civil society to find solutions for safer platforms.

Take Back the Tech! calls all users to take action in demanding these changes starting 21 July. Users can participate in the following ways:

Asking: “What are you doing about violence against women?” Use our questions and tweets to request more information from these companies under #WhatAreYouDoingAboutVAW.

Rating: Use our report card format to rate social media on various aspects related to violence against women. We’ll compile all user report cards and share the results.

Sharing: Have a story about your own experience? Let us know! Tweet, film, post and blog your stories. Add them anonymously to our map of tech-related violence against women.

Demanding: Tell these companies what you want. Share your solutions. We’ll follow up by sending them crowdsourced ideas they can put into practice.

Find more information and digital content in our campaign kit, use #WhatAreYouDoingAboutVAW and follow @takebackthetech for the continuing conversation. If you want to interview some of our team members and partners or need more information please contact us at info@takebackthetech.net.

Download the flyer and spread the word out there

About the Take Back the Tech! campaign
Take Back the Tech! is a collaborative campaign to reclaim information and communication technologies (ICT) to end violence against women (VAW). The campaign calls on all ICT users – especially women and girls – to take control of technology and strategically use any ICT platform at hand (mobile phones, instant messengers, blogs, websites, digital cameras, email, podcasts and more) for activism against gender-based violence.
www.takebackthetech.net/

About the Association for Progressive Communications
The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) is an international network and non-profit organisation founded in 1990 that wants everyone to have access to a free and open internet to improve lives and create a more just world.
www.apc.org

Take Back the Tech! Campaign Coordinator
Sara Baker
sara.baker@takebackthetech.net
Tel: +1 865 567 4157
Knoxville, TN, United States

Media contact
Flavia Fascendini
WRP Communications associate
flavia@apc.org
Tel: + 55 02477 640312
Pergamino, Argentina

(END/2014)

Media contact

Mallory Knodel
Communications & network building manager
Tel: +1 514 573 6340
mallory@apc.org
Montreal, Quebec

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