Take Back the Tech! campaign

Take Back the Tech

(Photo credit: Take Back the Tech)

Take Back the Tech has always been an exciting global campaign to “reclaim information and communication technologies to end violence against women”. While the big campaign happens during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (November 25 to December 10), the campaign engages in actions year-round.

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(Photo credit: Take Back the Tech)

Today marks the start of the campaign’s focus on major social media sites – “What Are You Doing About Violence Against Women?” Here’s how they explain it:

Women visit social media sites more often than men and spend more time on them. We send more tweets and share more posts. Women drive content, advertising and engagement, but by simply showing up on these platforms, we also face violence, with little support on the part of companies that profit from us … These sites have made some effort to respond to user concerns: Facebook has been working with women’s rights groups on hate speech, Twitter updated their rules on abusive behaviour and YouTube is trialling the Deputy Program, which relies on trusted flaggers to notify them of policy violations.

But they haven’t done enough, especially for women outside of the narrow scope of the US and Europe. In some countries, women have to go to the market to fax abuse reports, and language and cultural barriers are pervasive. We don’t know who responds to reports and how they are trained, and we haven’t seen data on reporting demographics and success …

So we’re targeting the big three. We want Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to:

  • Take a clear stand on violence against women in their terms of service
  • Engage with diverse civil society to find solutions for safer platforms

Take Back the Tech is a special campaign because, instead of focusing entirely on user behaviour and misbehaviour, it addresses the systems of how technology, social media and digital communications work. We so often think of these things as given. But like anything else, they are developed and monitored by human beings, have a logic and internal drive that may or may not serve the safety needs of users, and can open room for violence or safe community building depending on how they are run and used. There’s no real reason why they can’t be changed to encourage positive behaviours and discourage abusive ones. Users do have a role to play in building safety, but the policies and practices of these social media spaces have a significant role as well. Unfortunately, that role is often unacknowledged.

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(Photo credit: Take Back the Tech)

Learn how you can get involved with Take Back the Tech’s latest campaign action by visiting their website today. Information is available in English, French and Spanish.