Call on social media giants to end online abuse

A study by the Girl Equality Charity Plan International surveyed 14,000 young women aged 15 to 25 years in 22 countries, including 1000 in Australia.

In Australia, 65% of girls and young women surveyed are exposed to online harassment (compared to 58% of the world), abusive language, physical embarrassment, stalking and intentional. Harassment is the most common.

One of Ash’s Facebook friends (who still doesn’t know who she is) took pictures from her actual profile and reposted them to the fraudulent account.

“I didn’t know who was receiving and posting my stuff. I raised my privacy settings but couldn’t delete everyone-some users was A friend of mine. I didn’t know who to trust. “

Ash says he repeatedly reported fake profiles to Facebook, saying that someone was imitating her. “It wasn’t withdrawn, it wasn’t just withdrawn,” says Ash. “I do not know why.”

Ash was also what she called “slut-shaming” on her anonymous Instagram account.

“I went home and had a very vulgar and very upset post about me. There was a collage of my ex-boyfriend and another girl he was with, and I’m the most naughty It said.”


One day she was more worried about what would be posted on social media than the 12th year exam. “I removed some social media before the exam, but someone sent me a text message saying,” Oh my god, they posted something about you. ” Curiosity kills cats. I wanted to see what was said about me, and that was never a good thing. It definitely ruined my self-esteem and body image over the years. “

Forty-four percent of the Australian girls surveyed experienced harassment on Facebook, 35% on Instagram, and 24% on Snapchat.

When asked who was violent, 40% were school or work people, 29% were friends, and 16% were former partners. More than one-third say they have been harassed by anonymous social media users.

The study was conducted prior to the coronavirus pandemic, but national eSafety commissioner Julie Inman Grant has recently been able to control what happened on the site due to a surge in online abuse during the pandemic. Said it was gone.

Julie Inman Grant, eSafety Ellinghausen

The Commission reported an 87% increase in cyber-bullying among young people.

Kira Wong O’Connor, Instagram program manager, said it’s important to keep women safe with the app.

“We have invested billions of dollars in staff and technology to prevent platform abuse and work with more than 200 safety organizations around the world to help women from online harassment, offensive comments and unnecessary attention. “We are protecting,” said Wong O’Connor.

“For the past few years, we have partnered with Plan International in a workshop for young women to safely share their experiences online. This, along with Plan International’s research, includes these important social issues. It helps to better understand how to best solve them. “

A Twitter spokesperson said there was no gender abuse, harassment, or harassment on Twitter.

“Today, more than 50% of the abusive content we take action on is actively identified using technology rather than relying on reports from people using Twitter,” the spokeswoman said. The person in charge said.

“We focus every day, especially on protected groups, to try to do a better job in the fight against abuse. We recognize that there is always room for improvement. . “

Susanne Legenda, CEO of Plan International Australia, said 35% of Australian women and girls surveyed reported harassment on social media platforms.

She said experiences like Ash are common, saying that social media platforms did not delete fake accounts or offensive comments violated community standards.

Women and girls facing abuse on social media

  • 65% of Australian girls experienced some form of online harassment on social media
  • Most people began to experience harassment between the ages of 12 and 16
  • 44% on Facebook, 35% on Instagram, and 24% on Snapchat experienced harassment
  • 40% of people at work and school, 29% of friends and 16% of former partners are harassed
  • 38% of harassment by anonymous social media users
  • The most common harassment-abuse language, physical embarrassment, stalking, intentional harassment
  • 35% reported harassment on social media platforms
  • Source: Plan International

A young woman who spoke with Plan International sent an open letter to Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter on Monday calling for them to work with them to create a stronger reporting mechanism.

“All platforms have mechanisms for reporting abuse and harassment, and in fact many of these social media giants have made significant improvements lately, but in reality abuse is endemic. COVID-19 Prospering under the blockade, “said Regena.

“Girls say that when they report, obviously very scary content is often seen as mysteriously accepted, and even if an attacker is banned, they will come back in a few days. The system is broken. , Something needs to be changed. “

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Jewel Topsfield is a senior reporter at The Age. She has worked as an Indonesian correspondent in Melbourne, Canberra and Jakarta. She has won multiple awards, including the Walkley and Lowy Institute Media Awards.

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