Twitter and Facebook Get an ‘F’ for Women’s Rights

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Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have been heavily criticised for not taking online violence and harassment against women seriously by The Association for Progressive Communications’ (APC) Women’s Rights Program.

“We need transparency and safety online. That’s why we are targeting the big three: Facebook, Twitter and YouTube,” writes the APC in their report. “We want them to take a clear stand on violence against women (VAW) in their terms of service and to engage with civil society in order to create safer platforms.”

The APC found fault with the social networks for:

1. Reluctance to engage directly with technology-related violence against women, until it becomes a public relations issue
2. Lack of transparency around reporting and redress processes
3. Failure to engage with the perspectives of non-North American/European women
4. No public commitment to human rights standards

“In the case of both Twitter and Facebook, no concrete or genuine steps were taken to promote women’s rights and specifically address violence against women until public scandals and resulting high-profile campaigns emerged in respect of the intermediary,” writes APC. “YouTube has yet to take any public stance engaging with these issues directly. These failings suggest a lack of appreciation of the seriousness of violence against women online, and a lack of recognition of the responsibility of the intermediary to take measures to mitigate the frequency and seriousness of instances of violence and to provide redress.”

APC has launched “Take Back the Tech”, a campaign to encourage users, specifically women, to share their experiences in reporting abuse to social media sites.

(Source: APC.)