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've decided to 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.
UK Online Safety Bill
In 2017, the UK Government announced its intentions to make Britain “the safest place in the world to be online”. Although we were pleased to see the seriousness of online abuse mentioned in the draft Online Safety Bill, published in May 2021, we believe the proposals don’t reflect the gendered nature of the problem. The draft Bill also fails to acknowledge the disproportionate impact of abuse on Black women and women from minority communities, which we’ve highlighted in our research time and time again. Alongside Centenary Action Group, Antisemitism Policy Trust, Carnegie UK Trust, Stonewall, HOPE Not Hate and the End Violence Against Women Coalition, we are calling on the UK Government to make three key changes as the Bill passes through Parliament in 2021.
Those changes are:
1. Include specific measures to address online abuse, which affects women and people with intersecting identities.
2. Outline in more detail how technology companies’ ‘duty of care’ will be enforced, both in respect of illegal content, as well as legal but harmful content.
3. Bring forward the publication of the promised Digital Citizenship Strategy and promote digital citizenship education as a key priority, alongside the regulation of technological companies.