Can social media platforms tackle online violence without structural change?

Facebook, Google, TikTok and Twitter released their commitments to tackle online abuse and improve women’s safety on their platforms at the UN Generation Equality Forum in Paris. The commitments translate the findings of the Web Foundation’s policy design workshops on online gender-based violence and abuse, where tech companies joined experts from civil society, academia and governments.

Together they worked to co-create better ways for women to curate their own safety online through privacy settings, safety tools and reporting systems based on highly visible profiles of women with intersecting identities (e.g. politicians, journalists, activists). The progress is set to be reported annually by the Web Foundation against three areas, namely: test, timebound and transparency.

Amid a global context of rampant gender-based violence on social media platforms, the commitments represent a concrete and necessary step for every tech company to meet its responsibilities to respect human rights in the context of gender-based violence and abuse against women on its platform. However, and while the onus of safety and protection remains on women, Facebook, Google, TikTok and Twitter fail to provide a comprehensive approach to online gender-based violence.

Continue reading at GenderIT.org.

 

Illustration: Hate Speech by Jianan Liu via Behance, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

 

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