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It’s time for Big Tech to cut the cr@p and stop the online abuse

OpenMedia calls on social media platforms to implement stronger user controls.

As of 2021, 4.26 billion people use social media worldwide. It has become an integral part of our daily lives by connecting us with friends, family, and colleagues. But with good, comes bad – impersonation, stalking, cyberbullying, hateful slurs, and death threats. Despite rising complaints of harmful content online, platforms have failed to act. That's why OpenMedia recently launched an action calling on social media platforms to implement stronger controls for users to take action over their online experience. 

In recent years, online abuse has only increased in volume. According to data from the Pew Research Center, 41% of Americans experienced some form of online harassment in 2021, and 81% feel that platforms don't take enough action to address abusive content online. Social media platforms have become breeding grounds for abusive behaviour.

By not prioritizing the urgent need to address online abuse, social media platforms often embolden abusers to engage in behaviour without recourse. One major consequence here is the pressing threat it poses to freedom of expression. Its effects are particularly chilling when they’re used to silence, intimidate, and censor marginalized and underrepresented voices. 

Marginalized communities use social media platforms as tools for education and to speak about their own experiences, but when public discourse becomes dominated by a select ruling class it becomes less open for these folks to share online. It intimidates the very experts providing us with the information and guidance we urgently need. When individuals are afraid to speak out online, or when their speech is drowned out by a flood of abusive messages, their voices are censored. Without proper protections, people fear speaking up, self-censor, avoid posting online or will leave platforms altogether for their safety. As a result, it can limit the range of perspectives and ideas that are available for discussion and debate.

A free and open Internet requires inclusivity and diversity in public dialogue. Every individual has the right to feel safe and respected online, and social media platforms are responsible for providing a safe and welcoming environment for their users. 

Despite the seriousness of the issue, and teams of world-class engineers, product designers, and analysts behind platforms, big tech companies like Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram have been slow to take meaningful action to address online hate. There’s a lack of real-time responsiveness and customized support for victims of online abuse. 

That’s why we’re taking matters into our own hands; we’ve launched a campaign to hold big tech companies accountable and demand that they do more to combat online abuse. 

We’re sick and tired of their inaction. By giving users the tools to protect ourselves, we can act before online abuse occurs or minimize its effects.

We’re calling on platforms to commit to the following recommendations to give YOU more control over your online experience: 

  1. Create user-friendly privacy settings that clearly and explicitly lay out how each setting affects users’ security.  

  2. Build dashboards that users can use to filter out content and review, approve, and isolate abusive content.

  3. Equip users with the ability to establish their own trusted allies that can rapidly react to harm on their accounts and remove abusive content before it spreads. 

Social media platforms are responsible for creating a safe and welcoming online environment and for taking more proactive steps to prevent and respond to abusive behaviour. YOU should be empowered to decide what protective measures fit your needs and take action before the abuse spreads. Sign our petition demanding that Big Tech gives us better control over our online experience

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