Reclaim the Internet

Various authors, Reclaim the Internet, May 27, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Several studies have just come out describing the uneasy reality of gender non-parity in social networks:

  • First, this study from Pew sets the stage, reporting that in the U.S. people now get most of their news from the internet. As Mashable reports, "Those surveyed also reported getting news from Yahoo’s Tumblr, Vine(!) and Snapchat, which didn’t even make it onto the 2013 survey."
  • Second, a study published on PLOS One reports that men and women conduct themselves differently on social networks. As reported in the New York Times, "women's writing largely reflected compassion and politeness compared with men, who were hostile and impersonal."
  • Third, a study published by Demos reveals a staggering scale of social media misogyny on Twitter. As the Guardian reports, "over three weeks from the end of April.. it found that 6,500 individuals were targeted by 10,000 aggressive and misogynistic tweets."

This link points to a British initiative, Reclaim the Internet. "Here you'll find questions, discussion, personal testimony and ideas on how we can take a stand against online abuse." I'll make one comment: this is not unique to the internet. Visit any pub or locker room or barracks and you'll find the same. This sort of behaviour is currently socially acceptable; that's why we see it. It shouldn't be. Reports via MediaSmarts.

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