Twitter Teams Up With Women’s Group to Improve Response to Online Harassment


One of the groups behind the #FBrape campaign, which compelled Facebook to change its policy on the posting of “cruel and insensitive content” on the world’s top social network, has partnered with Twitter to study how the microblogging service can better police sexual harassment on its site.

Women, Action & the Media (WAM) said this week that it’s created an online form that lets “users report gendered harassment details that have never before been tracked and analyzed.”

“WAM will escalate validated reports to Twitter and track Twitter’s response to different kinds of gendered harassment,” the group said in a release. “At the end of the pilot test period, WAM will analyze the data collected and use it to work with Twitter to better understand how gendered harassment functions on their platform, and to improve their responses to it.”

The announcement arrives as online harassment has become a renewed topic of discussion in recent months. The “Gamergate” debate in the video game industry has seen some feminist critics of sexist imagery in games receive online death and rape threats. On Friday, the head of Blizzard Entertainment — makers of the popular game World of Warcraft and one of the most influential video game developers in the industry — made a public statement decrying such threats, saying the gaming community needed to “redouble [its] efforts to be respectful.”

Twitter has also been working on policies after its members have complained about harassment. In July 2013, it simplified the reporting process for abusive tweets after an outcry over rape threats — a female journalist in the United Kingdom had received them after starting a campaign to feature author Jane Austen on the British pound. The following month, in response to posted rape and bomb threats, Twitter updated its rules for users and added more staff to vet flagged tweets.

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Edward Moyer