We take social media for granted – chances are, you check yours countless times throughout the day. But there's a dark side to social media, as we highlighted as the reason for our #HelloToKindness campaign. For some people though, especially women, social media is seen to be failing them; here, Director of Amnesty UK Kate Allen speaks exclusively to HELLO! about how one social platform in particular deals with abuse towards women.
"In a recent interview, Twitter boss Jack Dorsey awarded himself a ‘C’ for tech responsibility. Whilst a ‘C’ might seem modest, he’s still given himself a pass mark. I wonder if the one in five women who have experienced horrific online abuse on the platform would agree with this grade? What about the countless people who have reported threatening messages, only to receive a response that the platform doesn’t consider it abusive? Or the many leaving the platform every day in fear that trolls will continue to freely abuse?
"Would these people think Jack has passed the responsibility test? No, of course not. Because he’s no way near a pass mark yet. He’s failing. For more than a year, Amnesty has been investigating how Twitter monitors and responds to abuse on its platform, and the impact this is having on women users. What we found shocked us. Women are subjected to vile, degrading and humiliating language relentlessly online - and they don’t think Twitter is doing enough to stop it. "An abusive or problematic tweet is sent to a woman every 30 seconds. And our study of women politicians and journalists who use the platform revealed how black women are disproportionately targeted, being 84% more likely than white women to be mentioned.
"Social media is an amazing tool for self-expression. Women should feel empowered to use it without fear of abuse. The online world needs to be somewhere everyone can speak out freely and safely. It’s great that #HelloToKindness is addressing the need for a kinder online space. But whilst online abuse still exists, social media companies need to be more transparent and take more responsibility for monitoring content and supporting users.
"In the interview, Jack Dorsey said that his platform has made progress in addressing these issues, but that it hasn’t been enough. “We’ve put most of the burden on the victims of abuse (that’s a huge fail)”, he said. Yes, Jack, that is a huge fail. Until Twitter shows it’s really serious about making the platform a safe place for women, Jack can have a ‘fail’ from us too."