The vicious targeting of women, women of color, queer women, trans women, disabled women, and other oppressed groups who speak up on online has reached crisis levels. Hate speech and violent threats are being used to silence the voices of women and gender non-conforming people in the public discourse everyday. Examples of the impact these attacks are having on women’s lives are everywhere.
A recent Pew research study found that fully 25 percent of young women online have been sexually harassed online and 26 percent have experienced stalking. Moreover, Pew found that women overall are disproportionately targeted by the most severe forms of online abuse including doxxing and violent threats.
This is why WAM! launched a pilot project to support Twitter users experiencing gendered harassment and abuse on the platform, including abuse that intersects with racial, LGBT, and other kinds of oppression.
WAM!’s Twitter Reporting Project grew out of WAM!’s participation in the Speech and Safety Coalition, a group of women’s advocacy organizations working with social media companies to ensure that women have equal access to both free speech and safety online. The data we gathered during the pilot project informed our report, Reporting, Reviewing, And Responding to Harassment on Twitter. Our research-based recommendations and solutions are designed to forward systemic change on Twitter and other platforms.
Reporting, Reviewing, And Responding To Harassment on Twitter was produced by researchers from the fields of computational social science, anthropology, sociology, network science and computer science. It was reviewed by five academic researchers in a double-blind, revise-and-resubmit peer review process. WAM’s report provides a baseline for Twitter and other technology company decision makers to make structural and policy changes. View the report.
Recommendations & Solutions
We’re here to inspire constructive discourse as well as systemic and structural change to make Twitter and other platforms safer for all voices, especially those who are targeted the most—women. While we appreciate the efforts Twitter has made to address online harassment and abuse since our Twitter Reporting Project launched in 2014, our research and the reported experiences of our community show that there’s more work to do. We believe Twitter and other online platforms can do better. Here’s how.
Are you experiencing harassment and abuse on Twitter or other platforms? It’s never your fault. We’ve got your back! Here are some resources that support and encourage diverse voices.
Stay Involved & Support WAM!
Fighting for gender justice in the media is what we do every day, and your tax-deductible donation helps keep us going. And be sure to get email updates (not too many!) from WAM! with breaking campaign updates and calls to action.