New Study Shows YouTube, Facebook, Twitter ‘Hide’ Female Harassment

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 12.58.18 PMWell, I think we all kind of new it peripherally, but to see it summarized is eye-opening.

A new study from Take Back The Tech details and grades how Twitter, YouTube and Facebook respond to abuse claims by women. As it turns out, the social media companies don’t do well at all.

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The study, commissioned by the Dutch government analyzed the statistics from the three companies over the past five years, researching their responses and transparency regarding harassment. Take Back The Tech’s report card (above) hands out a myriad of C’s, D’s and, chillingly, F’s.

Taking into account such topics as “Responsiveness to non-US/European women” (which received across the board F’s for all three platforms) and “Proactive steps to eradicate violence against women” (only Facebook got a “C,” the other two received F’s) the companies were graded by the existence or non-existence of evidence for their past actions. And so far, it’s grim.

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Chief amongst the studies aims was the plea for more transparency from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

“These companies are responsible to their users, yet so much of what they do happens behind closed doors,” said Sara Baker, “Take Back the Tech’s” global coordinator with the APC to The Intersect‘s Caitlin Dewey. “We would love to see data on how many people submit reports, their general demographics (including country and language) and the overall results of those reports. We also want to know more about the people making decisions behind the scenes. What countries do they live in? How are they trained?”

Facebook fares the best of the three in the report — though it relies on the same stilted “Report abuse” button the other two use, complete with an automated generic response, it attempts to resolve all issues “within 72 hours” and even has a chart on its pages that shows what happens when victims report abuse.

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 12.49.28 PMClearly though, if this study is accurate, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have a long way to go in making women feel safe online — and we have a long way to go as decent human beings.