Women who use the internet, moreso social media as a source of information, communication and entertainment will soon operate from a safer environment thanks to a pledge by big tech companies such as Twitter, TikTok, Google, and Facebook to fight online abuse and improve safety for female user on their platforms.
This turn of events came about at a recent UN Generation Equality Forum in Paris after year-long consultations with the World Wide Web Foundation (WWWF). The latter has been on a spirited campaign to end gender-based abuse online.
According to the WWWF women want to have more control over the comments section on social media posts. Additionally, women want to choose what they are able to see, when to see it and where to see it.
“Women also repeatedly highlighted the need for improved reporting systems, so they can be better supported when they do receive violent or abusive content,” said WWWF of their commitment
According to the WWWF blog, the companies have committed to Build better ways for women to curate their safety online by:
- Offering more granular settings (e.g. who can see, share, comment, or reply to posts)
- Using more simple and accessible language throughout the user experience
- Providing easy navigation and access to safety tools
- Reducing the burden on women by proactively reducing the amount of abuse they see
Implement improvements to reporting systems by:
- Offering users the ability to track and manage their reports
- Enabling greater capacity to address context and/or language
- Providing more policy and product guidance when reporting abuse
- Establish additional ways for women to access help and support during the reporting process
In a blog post Tara Wadhwa, director of policy for TikTok US said, “Over the coming months, we’ll begin to develop and test a number of potential product changes to our platform that address these priorities and help make TikTok an even safer place for women.”
The commitments were developed during our policy design workshops that brought together 120 experts from tech companies, civil society, academia, and governments from over 35 countries to co-create product solutions addressing specific problems, based on personas of five highly visible women with intersecting identities.
Additionally, the companies have committed to exploring and testing the prototypes and solutions developed during the workshops. These include features that let women better manage who can engage with their posts and more options to filter certain types of content, as well as strengthening reporting systems so users can track and manage reports of abuse.