Google’s Jigsaw announced on Tuesday that it will launch its web-based Harassment Manager app that helps users document and manage online abuse directed at them on online platforms.
Twitter and the Thomson Reuters Foundation will be among the first organizations to use the tool. It allows users to review, triage, and export harmful comments with trusted parties, as well as mute or block authors and hide replies to Tweets.
Dozens of studies have repeatedly shown that women, and women journalists in particular, receive waves of threats and harassment online. Google’s Jigsaw Unit and the Economist Intelligence Unit published a study which showed that 70% of female journalists receive threats and harassment online, and more than 40% of these female journalists have stopped reporting a story. Consequently.
“Harassment Manager is the result of years of research, development and cross-industry collaborations to deliver on our commitment to combat online violence against women. Our goal was to concretely meet the needs of leading female public figures. plan, like journalists, activists and politicians, who face disproportionate amounts of online harassment because of who they are or what they do – with serious consequences for themselves and for democracy in general,” said Patricia Georgiou, director of partnerships and business development at Jigsaw.
“We are grateful to Twitter, the Thomson Reuters Foundation and other organizations who have partnered with us to make this technology available. We hope our work helps reduce the personal and collective impact of online violence on women. around the world and will inspire other stakeholders to take action on this important issue.”
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Georgiou said ZDNet that they have developed this tool as part of their broader commitment to harness the power of technology to address the greatest threats to open societies.
Online harassment against women in general – and female journalists in particular – threatens open discourse and democracy, said Georgiou, adding that this kind of toxicity and harassment silences important and often marginalized voices, especially those of journalists, activists and politicians.
Google, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter and other tech giants pledged to improve women’s safety on their platforms at the UN Generation Equality Forum in Paris. The Web Foundation urged businesses to create solutions to online gender-based violence and abuse.
Jigsaw said he consulted with journalists and activists with a strong Twitter presence when developing the Harassment Manager. They used the Twitter API and collaborated with NGOs like Article 19, Code for Africa, European Women’s Lobby, Feminist Internet, Glitch, International Center of Journalists (ICFJ), Online SOS, Paradigm Initiative, PEN America and Right To Be on effort as well.
Arielle Schwartz, director of business development for Twitter’s developer platform, said the social media site wants to make sure everyone on Twitter has the tools they need to take control of their experience.
“Developer innovation increases the impact of the work our teams do to protect the public conversation by creating tools that meet the specific needs and preferences of people around the world,” Schwartz said. “This collaboration with Jigsaw enables NGOs and other ecosystem partners to leverage the Twitter API to build valuable tools for the communities they serve. We continue to tackle these issues collaboratively. and open and we look forward to seeing the innovative solutions that come out of this. Partnership.”
The Thomson Reuters Foundation plans to deploy the tool for its journalists on Twitter. CEO Antonio Zappulla said technology has created new risks through online violence – exposing journalists, especially women, to harassment and attempts to discredit or silence them.
“For more than 30 years, the Thomson Reuters Foundation has been committed to strengthening the independent media ecosystem around the world, leveraging our expertise in the combined power of journalism and the law to enable power to make accounts and protect civil liberties. This is why we are uniquely positioned to partner with Jigsaw on this exciting project,” said Zappulla.
“I am immensely proud of the Foundation’s contribution to creating a bespoke tool that can change the landscape for free, fair and accurate reporting, protect journalists from harassment – and enable them to fulfill their mission which, ultimately protects our fundamental human rights and freedoms.”
Jigsaw said it plans to work with more organizations to improve the tool. Georgiou explained that once Harassment Manager’s code is open source, organizations and developers can use it to deploy tools that meet the specific needs of their communities.
Georgiou added that they hope to inspire other stakeholders to tackle the issue of targeted online harassment, given its seriousness and impact on democracy.
“It’s a space that we will continue to work on,” Georgiou said. “Feedback from partners using Harassment Manager in various communities, contexts and platforms will help us identify other areas where technology solutions could be developed.”