New Facebook Hub Aims to Help ‘Protect Women From Online Abuse’

The Facebook resource center was developed with a panel of experts, including Irish Caitriona Gleeson

Facebook has launched a Women’s Safety Center and will work with an external group of expert advisers to address the issues of targeted women online.

The aim is to centralize resources for women leaders, journalists and those who have been victims of online abuse. Resources range from training politicians using Instagram for civic engagement to keyword blocking and comment monitoring for those in the public eye.

It will also include resources on community media standards as well as procedures for reporting and removing inappropriate content.

Facebook said that while continuing to develop usage guidelines for its platforms and create engineering tools to target dangerous content, it also aimed to give users control to prevent actions that specifically target women in the online sphere.

“We recognize that certain online and offline behaviors have a disproportionate impact on women,” said Cindy Southworth, Head of Women’s Safety at Facebook.

“While we regularly consult with external experts to update our policies, tools and technology to protect women from online abuse, exploitation and harassment, we believe we can do more. “

The new external panel is made up of 12 leaders, academics and nonprofit activists who will contribute to policies, products and programs to better support women who use Facebook’s range of services.

Caitriona Gleeson, who spent two decades fighting gender-based violence before becoming CEO of Women for Election, is Ireland’s representative on the group.

“The risk of online and offline abuse is a growing consideration for many women running for public office,” Gleeson said. “We want to help solve the problem of online abuse and dramatically reduce the barriers women face in politics.

“We are excited to be working with the Facebook security team and other advisors to contribute to transformative policies, products and programs that will help change the online experience of women in politics. “

Other panelists include Mexican Margarita Guillé Tamayo, social activist, founder and executive coordinator of the Inter-American Network of Women’s Shelters. She is an international advisor on gender-based violence for governments and non-profit organizations.

It also introduces Ji-Yeon Lee, associate professor of counseling psychology at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in South Korea. She specializes in cyber-sexual violence.

Facebook has recently taken steps to tackle abuse on its platforms. It introduced a new feature earlier this year to allow users to control who can comment on a Facebook post, and launched a feature on Instagram to filter out abusive and unwanted posts.

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