The recent GamerGate controversy is just the latest high-profile example of the insidious harassment women face on the Internet. Whether it’s the threat of a shooting spree leading to the cancellation of speaking events, or run-of-the-mill doxxing, women are often bullied into silence.
On Thursday, the nonprofit Women, Action & the Media (WAM) announced a partnership with Twitter aimed at reducing gender-based harassment through a new reporting process.
A new online form, created by WAM, asks for information such as what type of harassment a user is experiencing (outright threats, doxxing, hate speech, etc), whether it’s being done by a single person or a group, and whether it’s happening elsewhere online. WAM says it will investigate each claim and then send confirmed reports to Twitter.
At the end of an initial test period, WAM will study the data collected and work with Twitter to better understand how harassment occurs on the social network, and how to better respond to it.
Jaclyn Friedman, executive director of WAM, said of the project, “The disproportionate targeting of women online results in them removing their voices from the public conversation. We’re so glad that Twitter recognizes that the best way to ensure equally free speech for all users on their platform is to ensure that all users are equally free to speak without being targeted by harassment, abuse and threats.”
This is the second time that WAM has worked with a social media company to combat online harassment. Last year, the nonprofit’s #FBrape campaign resulted in Facebook cracking down on content promoting gender-based violence.