Amid a large number of people, in particular women, face harassment online, Google and Twitter Inc. have joined to offer people in the public eye a new tool that’s meant to blunt the scourge of gender-based online attacks, as per Bloomberg report.
The software, called Harassment Manager, is being provided to some female female and local, and will help them document, hide and block the malicious and vulgar tweets they receive, according to Jigsaw, which is owned by Alphabet Inc.’s Google. Harassment Manager, years in the making, was unveiled Tuesday on International Women’s Day, the Bloomberg report said.
Software developer GitHub has shared, “online abuse and harassment silences important voices in conversation, forcing already marginalized people offline. Harassment Manager is a web application that aims to empower users to document and take action on abuse targeted at them on online platforms. It is designed for anyone that experiences significant online harassment, which can be episodic or an ongoing challenge. The tool has been built and tested using a community based research and design process with active Twitter users that experience significant and/or frequent harassment.”
As of now, the tool will be available for use on Twitter by who work with the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Google’s Jigsaw unit also made Harassment Manager an open-source project, meaning that any software developer can adopt it free of charge to expand access. People using the software with their Twitter accounts can compile reports of the harassment to share with their employers, law enforcement or others, and can hide comments and block users.
Some 70% of female clients have received threats or harassment online, and 40% stopped reporting a story as a result, Jigsaw said in a statement, citing research that it and a variety of other groups have conducted. Amnesty International published a Twitter Scorecard in December, finding that women were about one-third of Twitter’s US user base. More than 20% of the women who responded to Amnesty’s survey said they had been subject to harassment or abuse on the platform, but women who used Twitter multiple times a week said they no longer asked the company to intervene because it wasn’t “worth the effort.”
Harassment Manager “is the first step and we’re hoping to see a ripple effect,” Lucy Vasserman, an engineering manager at Jigsaw, said in an interview. “We do want it to make immediate impact on the folks who are experiencing severe harassment. It’s not a magic wand that removes the problem entirely, which is impossible right now.”
Twitter has added a number of features to try to be a more welcoming, less toxic online destination, such as asking people to reconsider their tone when drafting angry tweets, but content problems remain. “We want to make sure everyone on Twitter has the tools they need to take control of their experience on our service,” Arielle Schwartz, the director of business development for Twitter’s Developer Platform, said in the statement.
(With inputs from agencies)
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