Are Social Media Platforms Too Late in Curbing Cyber Harassment Against Women?

The United Nations Women convention in Paris recently addressed a critical issue in the modern age of the digital world. With the support of leaders such as Graca Machel and Michelle Bachelet along with Hollywood Celebrities including Ashley Judd, Annie Lennox, Maisie Williams, and Gemma Chan the Paris Forum was brought forward into action to discuss the issue at hand.

The results of the forum urged the social media companies to pledge to the Web Foundation Pledge to assist in cutting down harassment and sexual exploitation that women face on social media websites.

The claims of the forum were backed by a study of the Economist Intelligence Unit that brought to the limelight the fact that around a third of women are subjected to online abuse and this number only increases for younger women.

Recognizing these problems the social media companies have decided to take the issue head-on on two fronts. This was announced by Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and Google at the UN Women Paris Forum.

The first issue that the tech giants decided to crack on includes the limitation of the platform to its users in controlling the individuals who comment, react or engage on their posts. This problem stems as a result of fake accounts that provide cover to the perpetrator and harms the mental well-being of the victim.

To counter this, social media companies have decided to provide female users with settings on a more micro level by granting them access to block the ability of individuals to comment on their posts without depriving them of the ability to see their content. To further this, the companies have decided to introduce a more user-friendly system of improving female user’s online safety and security.

The second issue that was decided to be curbed down on was the ability to report and flag down those who vandalize these platforms and abuse the anonymity that it provides. This is to be done by an algorithm that is going to follow through with the flagging and pinning on time outs.

Even in light of these developments, WWWF’s Senior Policy Person, Azmin Dhrodia, pointed out the impact that this had on gender equality. An Investigator that researched with the WWWF on online abuse, Dawn Butler, also pointed out that she herself has regularly faced online abuse as a black female politician.

Butler reinstated that she doesn’t pay head to these anybody’s and refuses people from taking away her voice. However, at times abuse increases to a severity such that a member of her staff had to buy a stab vest for security. She further called for every woman to follow in her footsteps and not allow these people to silence them and their spirits.

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