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Women’s visibility and expression on social media are often burdened by the risks of hate and harassment. The potential backlash and violence online have spurred women in all diversity to practise self-policing and censorship and to base their expression on the perceived reactions of their audiences. Several women in KRYSS Network’s earlier research also expressed that the fear of disparagement and vitriol had led them to modify the way they expressed themselves and spoke in digital spaces, knowing that they have very little to no control over their narratives once they become a target of online gender-based violence.
While online gender-based violence is rooted in gender-based discrimination that takes place in every facet of society, this research seeks to understand how this form of violence might be facilitated in particular ways by the algorithms and design of social media platforms. Specifically, it aims to better understand the barriers and biases resulting from algorithms in women’s access to freedom of opinion and expression, and to examine women’s resiliency and how they navigate these algorithms that are inherently limiting to create the much-needed space for women and gender non-conforming persons to speak out, to be heard, and to, in effect, occupy digital spaces.
This work forms part of the APC Feminist Internet Research Network project, supported by the International Development Research Centre.
Read the full report here.