The UN Generation Equality Forum was held in Paris this week, bringing together, “governments, corporations, NGOs, youth-led groups and Foundations to secure concrete, ambitious, and transformative commitments for gender equality.” Taking part in the forum, TikTok, Twitter, Google, and Facebook promised to redouble their efforts in making their platforms safer for women.
Women’s online safety needs some more attention
It’s generally understood (save for a caustically ignorant few) that women and underrepresented minority groups are subject to disproportionate amounts of abuse in many societal spheres, including social media platforms. According to a release by the World Wide Web Foundation relating to gender-based violence online, women are particularly concerned with having the ability to more actively manage what they see and are exposed to online. In response, the aforementioned platforms and other companies have committed to improving women’s online safety by offering more specific settings regarding safety tools and content moderation (who can see and interact with a user’s posts, what content they’re exposed to, etc.)
Further, several companies are also enhancing their reporting tools, offering users (particularly women) more ways to receive help when facing and reporting abuse, with specific attention given to more subtle forms of online harassment through context and language.
Unfortunately, while all of this sounds great, there’s not much more detail as to how all of it will work, and how much effective attention it will receive. And, as is pointed out by The Verge, all of these are reactive responses to online abuse, rather than proactively rooting it out. Abusers aren’t actively dealt with using these methods, only hidden. And hidden doesn’t mean gone. That’s not to say that these platforms’ commitments aren’t a mark of progress. Just that we still have a ways to go.
Source: The Verge