Top Social Media Platforms Slammed for Unclear Policies on Harassment of Women

Some of the most popular social media platforms have been slammed for their lack of attention to harassment of women on their sites.

The Association for Progressive Communications’ Women’s Rights Program took Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to task for each platform’s policy for reporting and resolving instances of harassment or violence against women, including online sexual harassment and direct violent threats.

Women outnumber men on almost every single social media platform, making them a force to be reckoned with. With 76% of online adult women on Facebook, and 30% of them accessing the site daily, that is a big audience for whose safety the platform has shown little regard.

On its Community Standards page, Facebook claims that safety is their top priority. They specifically address harassment, violent threats, and hate speech as acts that they will not tolerate, but go on to explain that “because of the diversity of our community, it’s possible that something could be disagreeable or disturbing to you without meeting the criteria for being removed or blocked.”

Facebook has been more upfront with its reporting process, and has safety teams numbering into the hundreds, handling complaints in over 20 languages. But still, they don’t publish their abuse numbers, an act which would truly make them accountable to their users.

By contrast, when a video is flagged on YouTube, it is sent to their team to review. Though it’s a 24-hour review team, the priority of a review is determined by an algorithm, so the victim has no way of knowing how long their review will take.

YouTube’s parent company, Google, says on their page about harassment and cyberbullying that they “will remove comments, videos or posts where the main aim is to maliciously harass or attack another user.” However, they make a point to emphasize their value of the freedom of expression, and explain that persons who post content violating the harassment policy will receive a “strike” against their YouTube account. There is no indications of how many strikes will result in the account being terminated.

This can be concerning news to businesses attempting to market themselves on social media. Businesses have to have their own social media pages nowadays in order to thrive by engaging consumers.

Facebook and YouTube are two particularly of the more successful social media platforms.

YouTube is actually the number two search engine in the world. A study by OutBrain shows that search engines are the #1 driver of traffic to content websites. Videos increase people’s understanding of your product or service by 74%, according to recent studies. Including videos on your company website, or links to videos on YouTube, will prove more engaging than a simple text-based post.

With social media harassment and bullying a growing problem, if social media platforms don’t step up their anti-harassment policies and procedures, and in turn become forthcoming with the public about the specifics of who is being harassed and what the sites are doing to prevent it, it will make these platforms seem unprofessional and unreliable to users.

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