UK Online Safety Bill
In 2017, the UK Government announced its intentions to make Britain “the safest place in the world to be online”. In May 2021, we were pleased to see the severity of racist and misogynistic online abuse mentioned in the announcement of the publication of the draft Online Safety Bill. However, we believe that the draft proposals do not go far enough to reflect the gendered nature of the problem. It also fails to acknowledge the disproportionate impact of abuse on Black women, and women and non-binary people from minoritised communities, which our research has repeatedly highlighted.
We welcome the Secretary of State’s commitment to stopping online racial abuse, and will be pressing for the government to demonstrate how this bill will make the online space safe for users who experience racist abuse online, in order to strengthen the current provisions laid out within the Bill.
Online abuse against women is a form of violence against women. This must be recognised within this legislation. There must be a joined-up approach to the Online Safety Bill and the violence against women strategy, as well as other ongoing work in this area.
We are campaigning to ensure that online abuse against women, and its disproportionate impact on racialised and minoritised communities, is reflected in the Online Safety Bill, to ensure that the UK does become a safer place to be online for all of us.
Sign Glitch’s and End Violence Against Women’s petition to make women specifically acknowledged and protected in the Online Safety Bill.
Join our mailing list to keep up to date with our work on the UK Online Safety Bill and other campaigns to end online abuse.
The Tech Tax
In October 2018, the UK Chancellor announced a new Digital Services Tax of 2% on tech giants like Facebook, Google and Twitter expecting to generate £350 million. According to the Office for National Statistics, this ‘tech tax’ raised £29 million in the first month of operation alone. The ‘polluter pays’ principle, endorsed by the OECD for almost 50 years suggests that the companies enabling these harms to society should pay to help rectify the damage. By ring-fencing at least 10% of this new tax annually for ending online abuse against women and girls, the Government can commit at least £3.5 million to further establishing online standards which are fair and necessary to the growing digital economy.
To efficiently and effectively combat online abuse and violence against women and girls, we recommend this 10% should be pledged to civil society organisations to help fund their vital work to end online abuse, such as training on digital citizenship and online safety. These organisations are currently facing greater demand at a time when their funding and existence are at risk. We also call to ensure that the UK’s broader online harms and data protection agenda are protected in any trade agreements.
Glitch x BT Sport: Draw The Line
In this major multi-platform campaign, we upskilled the BT, EE & BT Sport teams to become good digital citizens. The Glitch team helped to develop an algorithmic abuse tool to track levels of abuse on Twitter, as well as shape new research – which sadly confirms how increasingly unsafe our online spaces are.
- More than one in ten, over 10.6 million people, have received online abuse in the last 12 months
- 10,000 social media users in the UK read online abuse every minute
- Abuse is worse for women: one in five women have experienced abuse about their appearance
- One in three people who identify as gay & lesbian have received online abuse about their sexual orientation
- One in eight believe that those working in the public eye should expect abuse.
Read more here.
Data from YouGov survey of 4,000 people.
Black Lives Matter Online Too
Studies show that race is the largest strand of online hate, with Black people experiencing more of it than other groups; for those who are politically active too, the likelihood of receiving online abuse is even greater. To help change this, we offer free digital self-care and digital self-defence training for Black Lives Matter activists, who are using their voice to publicly speak out against racial injustice. We’ve also launched a petition calling for social media platforms to provide better controls over violent and triggering content, which can lead to PTSD. To learn more, click here.
The Ripple Effect Report
When COVID-19 first hit, our gut told us that more time spent at home and on our digital devices would lead to an increase in online abuse. To investigate this, we partnered with the End The Violence Against Women Coalition – a leading group of specialist women’s support services – and carried out some in-depth research. The result is ‘The Ripple Effect’: a report that reveals the gendered impact of COVID-19. We discovered that nearly half of women and non-binary people reported experiencing online abuse since the beginning of the pandemic, and that much of this abuse took place on the main social media platforms – despite tech companies’ claims about making their apps safer. To see our findings in full, download a free copy of the report here.
Glitch’s mission is to end online abuse by championing digital citizenship. Digital citizenship is about individuals engaging positively, responsibly, critically and competently in all digital spaces. We believe that all individuals have a right to safely and freely engage in online spaces without discrimination. Digital citizenship is respecting and championing the human rights of all individuals online, and for us this encompasses three key elements:
- Individual responsibilities
- Social responsibilities
- Institutional responsibilities
Our four pillars of digital citizenship are: Digital Self-Defence, Digital Self-Care, Online Active Bystander and Tech Accountability.
As part of our work to champion Digital Citizenship, we developed and delivered our pilot Digital Citizenship Workshop to over 3,500 young people across the UK and Europe during 2018. These workshops are all about helping young people lead their best, most positive, responsible and engaging online lives.
Key findings from our pilot workshops show that from our one hour intervention alone, 86% of young people surveyed said they would behave differently online as a result of the information they learned during our workshop. Young people also said they felt an increased sense of self-awareness and responsibility for how their behaviour could impact others. After attending our workshop they have an increased understanding of positive online behaviours and know how to flag and report inappropriate content.
Read more about the impact of our Digital Citizenship Workshops here.