Twitter offering new method for women to report harassment

SHAFAQNA – witter announced a partnership with nonprofit advocacy group Women, Action, and the Media (WAM!) last week, which changed Twitter’s policy on online harassment towards women.

Jaclyn Friedman, Executive Director of WAM!, spoke on behalf of the organization, saying it was “thrilled to be working with Twitter” to make the platform a safer place for women.

25% of women between the ages of 18 and 24 have experienced online sexual harassment, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Internet Project. 26% of women in the same age bracket experienced online stalking.

In contrast, the survey found 13% of 18 to 24-year-old men experienced online sexual harassment, and 7% experienced online stalking.

“The disproportionate targeting of women online results in them removing their voices from the public conversation,” Friedman said. “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.”

Before the partnership with WAM! Twitter allowed individuals to report other users under the categories of posting offensive content, violent threats, private information, spam or otherwise engaging in harassment.

But WAM!’s reporting form is radically different.

For one, it’s tailored towards combating the type of abusive behavior women are more likely to be subjected to.

It allows women to report impersonation, violent threats, doxxing, false information, hate speech, revenge porn and the encouragement of people to harass via offline methods.

WAM!’s form also allows women to enter multiple Twitter handles at once, different from Twitter’s current method.

If a woman was verbally attacked by several people at once, like Jessica Valenti was for asking about countries with free or subsidized tampons, she could report several users at once, rather than filling out one form after another.

At the moment the form is only available through WAM!’s website.

Fast Company reports that after an initial test period, WAM! will analyze the data collected and work with Twitter on how to move forward.

Katherine Park is a multimedia journalist and a junior at Rutgers University.

This article comes from The USA TODAY College Contributor network. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of USA TODAY. You understand that we have no obligation to monitor any discussion forums, blogs, photo- or video-sharing pages, or other areas of the Site through which users can supply information or material. However, we reserve the right at all times, in our sole discretion, to screen content submitted by users and to edit, move, delete, and/or refuse to accept any content that in our judgment violates these Terms of Service or is otherwise unacceptable or inappropriate, whether for legal or other reasons.

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