The Internet Is at Risk of Dismissing Women | Jobs Recent

Unless we do, 2023 will be the year women leave the internet. Women already face serious risks online. A Pew Research report of a US survey shows that one-third of young women report being sexually harassed online and that women report being more upset by the experience and consider it a bigger problem than men. A UNESCO survey of journalists found that 73 percent of the women interviewed had experienced violence online, while 20 percent said they had been physically attacked or harassed. offline about cyberbullying. In response, female journalists reported that they criticized themselves, withdrew from interacting with the Internet, and avoided communicating with their audience. Philippine-American journalist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa wrote about the online harassment she faced, at one point receiving an average of more than 90 hate messages per hour. After his investigation he wrote about the irregularities of the campaign funds about the candidate who was president at the time Jair Bolsonaro, the employer of the Brazilian journalist Patrícia Campos Mello received hundreds of thousands of abusive WhatsApp messages and threats of physical confrontation – so much so that his employer, the newspaper. Folha de S.Paulo, he was forced to hire a bodyguard for him. He had to cancel all events for a month. What they shared about both of these women is that they dared to question power when they appeared on social media.

It’s not just famous or highly visible women who face enough abuse online to consider leaving social media. A YouGov survey commissioned by dating app Bumble showed that almost half of women aged 18 to 24 have received unsolicited sexual images within the past year. UK MP Alex Davies-Jones has put the term “dick pic” in the annals of history debate on the UK Cyber ​​Security Bill when he asked another male member of Parliament if he had ever received it. It is not, as he said, a trivial question for many women.

AI-enabled intimate image harassment that combines images to create or reproduce new, often realistic images—called deepfakes—is another weapon of online harassment that disproportionately affects women. Estimates from Sensity AI suggest that 90 to 95 percent of all private videos online are illicit pornography, and nearly 90 percent of those feature women. The technology to create real deepfakes is now beyond our power and efforts to combat it. What we’re seeing now is a reverse democratization of the ability to do harm: The barriers to entry to creating deepfakes are low, and the fakes are becoming more and more real. Current tools to identify and combat this abuse are not keeping up.

And the consequences of Internet harm to women are chilling. We can look to research conducted in societies where women face many social restrictions to see the impact. In a leading research study, Katy Pearce and Jessica Vitak found that women in Azerbaijan chose to opt out of being online because the potential real-world consequences of online harassment were already too high in a culture based on honor with high levels of surveillance. In other words, women faced an impossible double standard: not being able to control their image on social media but being severely punished for it.

There are answers: Better security measures by design can help people control their images and messages. For example, Twitter recently allowed people to control how they are tagged in photos. Dating app Bumble has released the aptly named Private Detector, an AI-powered tool that lets users control which unsolicited nude photos they want to see—if any. Legislation, such as the UK’s proposed Cyber ​​Security Bill, could pressure social media companies to address these risks. It is far from perfect, but the bill takes a system-based approach, asking platform companies to assess risks and develop incremental solutions such as improving the rating of people’s content, better dealing with user complaints, and enforcing better plans to be taken. user care.

This regulatory approach is not guaranteed to prevent women from entering in large numbers in 2023. If they do, not only will they miss out on the benefits of being online, our online communities will suffer.

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