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harassment twitter

Twitter teams up with Women, Action, and the Media to target online harassers

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Oh, Twitter, how I love you and hate you. On the one hand, Twitter can be a powerful grassroots organizing tool, a personalized media aggregator, a way to meet and interact with friends and colleagues, and of course one of the world’s most effective distributors of cute cat pics and fart jokes.

On the other, it can empower harassers — from individual stalkers to virtual mobs — and provide a way-too-easy way to send anonymous threats.

And unfortunately, Twitter hasn’t made much of an effort to deal with its abusive users. It can take days, weeks, sometimes months for the site’s harassment cops to do anything about persistent harassers, and all too often the suspended harassers pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and go right back to harassing their enemies with brand-new accounts — a blatant violation of Twitter’s rules that seems to be very seldom punished.

But there’s some good news on this front. Twitter is teaming up with Women, Action and the Media (WAM), a small feminist nonprofit, in a pilot program designed to fight this kind of harassment. WAM! has some experience here; this is the group that pressured Facebook into taking hate speech more seriously.

Those subjected to gendered harassment on Twitter can now report the harassment through WAM’s own form, designed to be more flexible and less cumbersome than Twitter’s balky harassment reporting system; WAM staffers will review the complaints and expedite them, enabling Twitter to deal with serious and persistent harassers much more quickly.  WAM staffers won’t be able to ban abusers directly, but they can essentially bump cases to the front of the line.

WAM will also be collecting data both on the harassment reports they get on their site and on Twitter’s handling of the cases WAM sends to them.

As the group explains

We’re using this pilot project to learn about what kind of gendered harassment is happening on Twitter, how that harassment intersects with other kinds of harassment (racist, transphobic, etc.), and which kinds of cases Twitter is prepared (and less prepared) to respond to. We’ll then work with Twitter to improve their responses to the harassment of women on their platform.

If you’re wondering why WAM is doing the gruntwork here, instead of Twitter itself, well, the WAMmers are wondering about that, too. While glad that Twitter has agreed to the project, WAM Executive Director Jaclyn Friedman told the Daily Beast that ” Twitter is making a lot of money and they should be putting the resources into this. We should not have to do this project … .”

Hopefully this project will mark the beginning of the end to Twitter’s culture of harassment-without-consequences.

WAM Twitter Harassment Reporting Tool

PewResearch Report on Online Harassment, Oct. 2014

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tinyorc
6 years ago

GGers are now full-on wailing about misandry because of Eliza Simims and Mattie Brice. Their transformation into the gaming branch of the MRM is officially complete.

CJ
CJ
6 years ago

The most hilarious thing about the “No True GGer” thing is that they’ve chosen to make a leaderless, opt-in organization so it is completely farcical. If you make a group like that you don’t get to decide who is a true member of it.

leftwingfox
6 years ago

pallygirl: I enjoyed GW2, but I kind of fell out of it around level 40.

Part of it was because I’d joined a group called “Godless” run by one of the FTB crew, just before he had a screaming race-fail blow-up. (Long story short, he criticized a black woman for being angry at a racist question, then doubled-down in the face of criticism from the people he claimed to be allies with)

Right now I’m sticking with WildStar for as long as it lasts. My guild consists of three people.

Robert
Robert
6 years ago

I wasn’t sure how I felt about this*, then I saw that Andrew Sullivan is appalled by it.

So it is *clearly* a good thing.

*Humor; I was quite sure how I felt about it.

thebewilderness
thebewilderness
6 years ago

If enough of these d00dz boycotted Blizzcon it would improve the Blizzcon experience for everyone else. I hope they do.

Zaki
Zaki
6 years ago

Tangentially, now GGers are targeting Elizabeth Simins, the author of a four-part series of comics about growing up as a videogame-playing girl. (http://cargocollective.com/eliz/Manic-Pixel-Dream-Girl?1)

INDUSTRY REFUSES TO CONDEMN HATE CARTOONIST ELIZABETH SIMINS
(http://theralphretort.com/industry-refuses-condemn-hate-cartoonist-elizabeth-simins/)

ktrantingredhead
6 years ago

You know what I find really interesting about online harassrers….i’ll just go ahead and call this MRA hypocrisy #760… MRAs like to fancy themselves as libertarians and one big libertarian belief is that private businesses have the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason and you also have the right to kick anyone off your property for any reason, which is a sentiment I largely agree with….hey, if I owned a business I wouldn’t want men’s rights activist shopping there and I would want to be able to kick their asses off my property for no other reason than the fact that they’re MRAs…. Yet when it comes to online interaction they forget this. If you show up at, say, a Macy’s and you start harrassing all the women that go in, Macy’s has the right to tell you to get the fuck off their property and and never come back. Yet on Twitter or Facebook or Kotaku or Nerdist or CNN.com, etc., ALL PRIVATE BUSINESSES that, according to MRAs claiming to be libertarians, should be able to refuse service to anyone for any reason, and they tell MRAs to get the fuck off their virtual property, suddenly you’re giving in to the feminazidykecuntslutfatuglywhore evil agenda and violating the First Amendment and robbing them of their free speech….And suddenly this cornerstone belief disappears….apparently THOSE businesses don’t have the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason…..I know I know I know I know I can’t expect men’s rights activist to be logical people or to take a look in the mirror now and then and realize how full of shit they are… But they always try to pride themselves on being logical and using big words that they actually don’t know the definitions of….

Robert
Robert
6 years ago

Oh, Sulky update – he found out that Milo Yiannopolous and JudgyBitch got their accounts suspended. Fetch the fainting couch and smelling salts, Liberty is under siege.

katz
6 years ago

MRAs like to fancy themselves as libertarians and one big libertarian belief is that private businesses have the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason

Yes, but it turns out “for any reason” actually means “because they’re gay or black.”

M. the Social Justice Ranger
M. the Social Justice Ranger
6 years ago

@katz

Bingo. I have literally never seen the “Private business!” card come out in any other context.

Robert
Robert
6 years ago

Zaki – I read the second link. When TotalBiscuit was referred to as a ‘moderate’, I stopped reading.

pecunium
6 years ago

I loved the guy saying Quinn has NOTHING to do with GG, and all the IRC logs were faked.

cubist
6 years ago

leftwingfox: “Part of it was because I’d joined a group called “Godless” run by one of the FTB crew, just before he had a screaming race-fail blow-up. (Long story short, he criticized a black woman for being angry at a racist question, then doubled-down in the face of criticism from the people he claimed to be allies with)”
That’s J.T. Eberhard, whose blog was on FTB at the time, and has since moved to Patheos. Sadly, while JT is great on atheism, he’s… substantially less than great… on racism and sexism. JT is a feminist ally because he says he’s a feminist ally, but when feminists let him know that he’s Doing It Wrong, JT gets all cranky about How Can You Attack An Ally and yada yada yada?

[shakes head]