WAM Twitter Tool Helps Users Take A Stand On Harassment Against Women Online

Lately, there appears to have been an escalation when it comes to harassment online. While Twitter’s stance is that users “may not engage in targeted abuse or harassment,” a lot of the harassment has been taking place on the social media network itself. More specifically, the targeting and harassment of female users across various mediums, platforms, and professions has led to an escalation that involves death threats, exposure of private information, doxxing, and a plethora of sexist hate speech.

One only has to look at Zelda Williams, the daughter of actor Robin Williams, who received altered photos of her father’s suicide from anonymous people shortly afterwards as an example (Twitter removed the images). Or, even more recently, the amount of threats and various forms of harassment sent from Twitter users, claiming to be a part of #GamerGate, against various women in the video game industry and news outlets.

Image Credit: WAM

In an effort to prevent and eliminate such harassment, Twitter has teamed up with non-profit organization Women, Action, and Media (WAM!). WAM recently announced that it is running a pilot project to help female Twitter users who are suffering from harassment and referenced a Pew research study that discovered around 25 percent of young women online were sexually harassed while 26 percent experienced stalking. In addition, the study revealed that, overall, women have been disproportionately targeted by the severest forms of online abuse.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Twitter to make their platform safer for women,” said WAM executive director Jaclyn Friedman. “The disproportionate targeting of women online results in them removing their voices from the public conversation. 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.”

Twitter users are able to fill out an online form to help report gendered harassment details in order to track and analyze the types of harassment that is being used on other users. From there, the organization will analyze the data it collects and validate the reports. WAM will then escalate validated reports to Twitter and track the social media site’s responses to various forms of gendered harassment.