Sunday, November 9, 2014

Are You A Woman Who's Been Harrassed On Twitter?

Well, first off, I'm very sorry about that. Second, it appears you may have something to fight back with. You would think that something like Twitter's harassment policy would be enough for that kind of thing, but it turns out not so much. Twitter has been derided as slow to respond to harassment complaints, and even when they take action, it's a pretty simple matter for the harasser to just make a new account and keep harassing.

So what Twitter is doing is working with a group called Women, Action and the Media, or WAM. (That acronym cannot have been a coincidence, for the record.) What's going to happen is, they'll be taking over monitoring of gender-based harassment to a degree. (And that gender, of course, is almost always going to be women being harassed by men.) What's being requested is that, if you find you've been harassed on Twitter due to your gender, you go here and fill out the form that you'll find on the other side of the link. WAM will then refer what they get off that form to Twitter, and monitor how well Twitter responds to the reports. WAM will be referring what they get ('escalating' is the word being used, because they do first have to filter out any non-legit complaints) to Twitter in no more than 24 hours, and they aim to be a lot faster on the draw than that.

This is Twitter's reporting form; you can see that WAM's is considerably more detailed. That's by design. The idea here is to track things that Twitter currently is not, so that after a trial run of using WAM's forms, they'll be able to see certain patterns in abuse that Twitter is unable to pick up right now, and in time, Twitter will be able to see them too so they can more effectively act.

This does raise the question, though, of why Twitter doesn't just host the WAM form itself and not make people go hunting for it. And it has been raised. The potential worry here is that the partnership with WAM amounts to little more than a gesture and won't actually lead to true change, and it's on Twitter to show they're serious about this.

Of course, the people who do the harassing could also help out by not being the kind of jagoffs who harass solely based on gender in the first place. But I suppose that's too much to ask of them, isn't it?

No comments: