If you’ve been on the Syracuse University campus anytime recently, you’ve see an outpouring of support for campaigns against sexual harassment and sexual assault.
The Girl Code Movement was started by three SU students, and is a college-focused, anti-sexual assault organization. As well, “Yes Means Yes” is a campus-wide campaign advocating against sexual assault and providing helpful resources for those affected.
However, the problem of sexual harassment doesn’t exist only in the confines of college campuses. A recent study by the Pew Research Internet Project shows that 25% of women between the ages of 18 and 24 have experienced online sexual harassment.
Twitter, a popular online social network, took notice of this issue and wanted to change these statistics. To combat these numbers, Twitter is partnering with the non-profit advocacy organization Women, Action, and the Media (WAM!) to take a stand against online sexual harassment. Although WAM! is only a two-person team, it already is known for being one of the groups behind the #FBrape campaign.
How Did This Idea Come About?
Jaclyn Friedman, executive director of WAM!, decided to establish this partnership because she noticed that “there are a lot of different ways that women are getting harassed and Twitter’s current reporting system isn’t catching all of them.”
Twitter’s previous harassment reporting tool looked a little something like this, but WAM! has transformed it to include more are more specific method of reporting different types of harassment. The new reporting system requires you to answer more questions, which will allow the social site to solve the problem faster and more efficiently. As far as faster, the company claims people can report abuse and harassment on Twitter and get the issue resolved within 24 hours.
How Is This Better?
This new way of reporting allows users to list multiple harassing accounts at one time to simplify the process. It lets people submit a detailed complaint by reporting either impersonation, violent threats, doxxing, false information, hate speech, or revenge porn.
WAM does want to clarify the extent to which they are involved with this project. The company states, “We’re not Twitter, and we can’t make decisions for them. We’re going to do our best to advocate for you with them, though.”
Not everyone is happy about Twitter’s attempt to face this issue head on. Some believe addressing harassment on the social networking site is a fruitless attempt, and having users submit via the new reporting tool only puts a target on their back.
I do not agree with this frame of mind. I applaud Twitter for listening to the concerns of their users and at least attempting to address them. The company may not fix everything on the first try, but they are looking to protect the safety of their users and that says something about their values and priorities.
Twitter also can gather information during this project and see trends about what kind of harassment is happening on their site. This way they can be more informed about the problem and take appropriate steps to reduce online harassment as a whole.
What do you think of this partnership and the new site? Let me know in the comments below.