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Report Gives Facebook, Twitter, YouTube an ‘F’ in Handling Harassment

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Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have come under fire for not taking online violence against women seriously according to a new report.

The Association for Progressive Communications’ Women’s Rights Program mapped each social media platform’s policy for reporting and resolving instances of harassment or violence against women, including online sexual harassment and direct violent threats. The APC also tracked the networks’ public responses to international abuses cases. The organization rated all three social networks with an “F” grade in their “public commitment to human rights standards.”

The research emphasized an overall lack of transparency around reporting and redress policies across the board with all three companies. While the APC said Facebook provided the most details about its reporting process, there remained “serious gaps in information” about how the complaints are actually dealt with. The APC found that among reported cases, companies were slow to address tech-related violence against women unless it became a public relations issue.

“These failings suggest a lack of appreciation of the seriousness of violence against women online, and a lack of recognition of the responsibility of the intermediary to take measures to mitigate the frequency and seriousness of instances of violence and to provide redress,” the APC stated in a press release.

The report clips on the heels of revelations over the last several months that tech companies including Facebook, Twitter and Google, which acquired YouTube in 2006, are heavily male-dominated workplaces, according to the companies’ own diversity reports.

APC has launched a “Take Back the Tech” campaign to encourage users, specifically women, to share their experiences in reporting abuse to major social networks. The goal, according to the APC, is to encourage tech companies to train their staff and establish transparency policies regarding online harassment cases

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