Table of contents
About the talk
Ethics & Society: SafetyTech: Tackling the toxic web
How can we create more safety in an online world of discrimination? Part of the answer is in bridging the gaps between technologists, policymakers, researchers and users. Never has this been more important for women, many of whom experience online abuse. This session will showcase how workshops, design thinking and community involvement are being used to help address these issues.
Charlotte Webb - Co-Founder - Feminist Internet
Azmina Dhrodia - Senior Policy Manager, Gender and Data Rights - World Wide Web Foundation
Geraldine Bedell - Executive Editor - Parent Zone (Moderator)
Co-founder of the Feminist Internet, which aims to disrupt inequalities in internet products, services and systems by educating and equipping the people who build them and who use them. Acting Course Leader for MA Internet Equalities, Creative Computing Institute UAL, and Founding Director of Even, providing applied ethics for the next generation of business.View the profile
I'm a leading tech policy expert on online safety with a particular focus on content moderation, online abuse against women and product policy.View the profile
Geraldine Bedell writes and advises on families and tech, and co-hosts the Tech Shock podcast. She was a columnist with the Independent and staff writer and reviewer with the Observer, has written for most UK newspapers and numerous magazines, and authored and presented documentaries for Radio 4.View the profile
And it is my pleasure to introduce the moderator full discussion. Geraldine Vidal. She is the executive editor at Parents Day. And yeah, I'm really looking forward to hearing more about just a few nights housekeeping questions and questions on Twitter. Hashtag hashtag 21. Thanks so much and welcome everybody to this session on safety Tech tackling the toxic. When we going to be looking in this section of tile design thinking can help make the internet unless discriminatory space. And in particular about how it can help Taco gender-based, violence, online.
My name is 10% of the Texel. I'm delighted to be joined by asmina dodea who is senior policy manager, gender, and date of rights of the web foundation and buy a Charlotte Web confounded a feminist internet discussion between design thinking to come, create solutions to online abuse and harassment of girls and women. What would you please do something questions. Raised me on his shoulders and we'll do our best to wants them through The background to this is that the incident has sexism problem. It's very hard to be a female competition journalist with public figure of any kind
online and send me an issue with the defense prominent people last week of studies published in which they were Richard problem. It's a systemic problem. It's an extensive problem and it's an instructional problem and you didn't have to experience it directly for it to affect you hostilities, women online. Can I return participation? We know that there aren't enough women in stem. But even when do women, do what context? I go from find the conditions, very difficult to talk about what you've been trying to do with Bob, and how you
doing thinking, having the power to unlock solutions to gender-based discrimination online, which is so pervasive. Great. Thanks so much, Geraldine. And before he jumped into a set of the process. I'm in love you been up to you. I wanted you to speak very quickly about what we do. It the way I found a shin and as well as how we framed this issue of online gender-based violence, answer. For those of you that don't know, no bets on, dacian, was co-founded in 2009 by Sir, Tim berners-lee and rosemary meet. As many of you will know, Tim berners-lee as the inventor of the world wide
web. And our mission is to ensure that the web is a, you know, an accessible place and open to all and that when folks are online that it's safe and empowering for everyone, equally in terms of how we talk about another issue of all night gender-based violence. I know you touched upon this a little bit, but I thought I'd just dive into a little bit more violence and abuse, others refer to it as violence and abuse against women online or check or icy.
But you know, I think sometimes all of these different terminologies can be confusing. But in essence, what we are all talking about. Are the different tactics and harms that are perpetrated against women and non-binary, folks online that are rooted in farm full of power structures. And you know, and as you mentioned online gender-based violence is supposed to stomach and intron intersectional. So by systemic, I mean that this is an extension and manifestation of existing forms of discrimination and abuse against them. In this is not a new phenomenon outside Leann woman, you know,
I have experienced discrimination and violence in all four as of your life for free on Saint. Paul. What is new. Now is the medium through, which we are seeing it, play out online and buy intersectional. I'll be needing that women who have multiple and intersecting identities. So, I'll let you know what you don't want me to color women from different ethnic minorities and women are at heightened risk of abuse affected because of you. So often targets. Different identities. And as many different tactics that on my gender based violence, tenants include and
misogynistic, and andreasik racist, comments against an individual. It can include privacy concerns, such as non-consensual, intimate physical, and sexual violence. And so, in terms of that the project and the tech policy Design Lab the project in four different aspects. So the First with a series of four multi-stakeholder consultations that the recommendation convene between March 2020 and February 2021 and that really focus on Gathering evidence around the specific experiences of online reviews for
different groups of women. So this included on women's rights activist women in public life, which included journalists and politicians and young women as well. And then second was that we can we can be in a series of three design-thinking workshops. A similarly, be brought together, you know, a multi-stakeholder, a different different, stakeholders online of you to all came together to co-create product solutions, for on my gender based violence and based on the evidence that
we see in the comments, Enterprise a highly visible woman online. So, you know, that could be a journalist journalist, or politician. And then within this, we focus on two main theme, so the first thing was about creation, which is really about how to give women greater control over, who can see, or comments. And I replied to the post, more Choice over what they see online. And then a second, if you was around the party, because when creation doesn't work and made us, women have when they experienced
abuse on the pot for me to report it to the end and I'm sure as you know, I'm going to unpack later but was Central to our approach and Analysis has been to recognize the intersection of nature of on my gender based violence. And you know, I reproach didn't just consider the experiences of women from marginalized communities, but it's Center has been because we know that if we can solve this problem for this week that we held a Roundtable following. The workshops will be brought back a key small group, of key stakeholders,
to further unpack, the product Solutions in the prototypes that we co-created. And and then in terms of what this is all leading up to. This is all leading up to the UN generation quality for him. That's being held in Paris later this month. We were calling on the world's largest jackpot forms. So Facebook Instagram, Twitter to announce a bold package of commitments. I'm related to the solutions that we came up watching our workshops and two tackle. Gender equality online friend told her we had a hundred and twenty participants from 35 countries involved in this for keep my process, which
really shows how truly stakeholder multi-stakeholder policy. Design Lab early is aiming to bridge the gap between technology as policymakers researchers. And those who use on my spirit says, to create effective and workable products and policy solutions to Target. Some of the biggest technology challenges of our time and really excited that we were able to let you know, focus on online gender-based violence and harassment. At the first Focus. Thanks so much as we can. I bring in Charlotte's. You tell us something about the design thinking process contain and practice.
Where did it take you? Thank you, Geraldine. And thank you for that pretty and I'm Framing and instruction of me. So I'll talk a bit about some of the elements that went into creating what shops. And then I'll, I'll talk about what they actually look like on a bee sting on duration and Reporting. So, one of the elements that was pretty Central and crucial to the workshops was a special assignments. These personas on highly visible. When you have a density developed based on evidence gathered through their consultations with wisdom,
and of course expensive Foundation team. They were Five Percenters in the stats of Avon. We had is a black female with a station based in the UK and lgbtq plus an Asian-American will be over 250, influenza to say Paulina in India is available online. So you'll have a chance to see them flushed out with illustrations if you if I can do them. Another really important elements of the creation was a taste of what we call human problems. Face your problems would be
things like I'm under siege by a growing online mall and I need to weigh myself and stuff. I don't know how these countries has written in the first-person to pretty grounds them in experience. They basically say what is happening? again, they were kind of created by looking at evidence about people people's experiences of a bass, but that describes in a way that allows for design solutions from Obviously, they are not able to be exhaustive and describing all of the problems to the next. But we didn't raise us. That that would be
representative of the concerns of the people change. The wax shop in another state. Imagine designing a Solutions within this is ready to focus. The outputs on the needs and experiences of uses. I'm not disturb of models or existing premises of SO3 real kind of an element of the workshops. And then in terms of how they played out, they all run in 5 stage. Presa asking people to become designers for the day. They watching in smoke break. How great. That's focusing on designing solutions, that enable the user experiences around
the stage of the workshop, is around the scenario that this is really getting people to dig into. A combination of a human problem and really discussed. What is the experience of the past? And that was designing for light at work that contact influence the way that they are experiencing any design. What is grounded in? Try placing themselves in the season pass and things going for the scenario. She's very much about generate as many ideas as you possibly can. This is
grounded in this scenario. Select one idea of a combination of ideas to take for it. After a, my day has been stated. We go into Furious, a screen, showing the user experience in Mira Mesa Warframe. The prototypes, and then, once the first type has been created by a person's heart to the bigger group and we get them. Quite tell what was the kind of scenario do being a frame, the person's life and times of a, how might we question. What does it look like an important policy? Considerations? That might need to be made by companies.
Thank you so much for an absolutely fascinating interview process. So I think you dig down into that. I'm saying is in the challenges in because you how you go to the range of a comms that we're seeing. Yeah, I know. So it was, it was really interesting process in terms of why we chose highly visible women. That was mainly because the consultations that we had in the evidence and the data that we had was particularly around on women who are in the public eye, whether that is
octopus or a politicians and journalists. And we ain't, as I mentioned, we really felt that if we're able to start it to solve the problems for this group of women who are highly visible and have your margin lines. Intersecting identity is an ideal EB solutions that that we co-create will work no more. Why leave her for everyone out there using these platforms Persona, is it was, it was really challenging process? Because we wanted to reflect a variety of women in their identities and read so much evidence. Not only from her own consultations, but you know from all of them aging research
that's been done by a society organizations out there as well. And so, how do you, how do you boil. Exercise. And so that's why he wanted to make these, you know, authentic but also reflective of the live experience as if so many of the women that attended her consultations are the groups and you know, but we were interested is really making sure as I mentioned that we highlighted woman who experiences multiple acts of discrimination, even though activists and journalists and politicians may have broadly similar experiences of
abuse online. This is still quite Nuance in regards to their goals and their different for different professions. And the Highlight was that abuse was so often. As you mentioned it, a silent singer censoring function, but, you know, if you are a highly visible woman and your dependent on social media platforms for your job options, Directions or get offline, but you know when you're highly visible woman in particular, did the economic cost of getting online? As is often too
great. It's not even an option. So we really wanted to build this consideration and into our personas, you know, it in terms of influences as well as because so often we talked about journalists and politicians and activists, but influencers are very much women who are some different ways, but especially when you're influencer talking about, you know, women's rights issues or around, massage need to know if they're very much that, you know, or just as likely, it seems her speaking out because of, you know, they aren't, you know, because of some sort of harmful gender stereotypes against
women, who get thrown into the time for it. So, as I mentioned, one of our personas, what is about a young woman. Understanding and support them that are is needed. And for different folks were thrown into the spotlight, you know, for someone like that entering politics or journalism or activism. The risks are slightly more and more known. Yeah, so I don't know if you wanted to come in around cuz I know that was something that you let on. Yeah, sure. I mean, SSI
sintered. It was really challenging price, best finding that balance between wanting to be, as representative as we could all people's lives princess with a no swiping. Where if you're not wanting to control anybody wanting to be very respectful of these experiences, especially say, navigation was required. We did want to make sure that the same as what. Officially represented in some way. It felt like he thinks which graphic images was sick from kind of
issues and patient. On the issues of images directly represents a restoration of Rights and bring together a composite of images that way that would Capture some of the really important aspects of women's identities without revealing anything about the woman answer. That was that was why we arrived. But yeah, challenging challenging prices for you to talk about, why you decided to use fiction a lot, cuz I hate you did have tech companies in the old and, you know, we all know where I'll be if uses at its most egregious so white.
yeah, so Fictional apps kind of do a full day, little bit more, creative freedom than grounding, the design purses in a relapse. They give people space to experiment and also in terms of the great help us avoid any one person being the authority on a particular way of thinking about what might be done, is trying to find a balance between grounding the making in a real situation rather than an abstract. Very much. And that was important because we want to
Great, and then we talked about the process. Can we talk a little bit about how successful it was a human problems that they face and then the apps together successfully. It was really challenging. I'm in the sense of sometimes, different different experiences. I'm a different personas, didn't it didn't always fit as neatly into a specific as to be with me would like and I think some of the some of the challenges as well aware that sometimes they experience is completely different,
forms, our video and image face platforms, and verses using the written word and then post in terms of their comments and replies. So it was really challenging but also really interesting sort of Did you try and match and look at all the different ways and all the different interactions and how they could come together to form, that sort of Ideal scenario that we could go create solutions for and, you know, I think it was really in that game somewhere. A lot easier to connect another. So, yeah, we had a blonde who is the black politician from from
the UK to let him a politician. I'm experiencing pylons of abuse and it was really interesting in terms of the outcomes and the solutions that work O created for someone like a barn where a lot of their co-created. So we shouldn't wear around and being able to support in terms of what you can see online and how you can block or mute or No Limit replies or if you have time, your interactions reason, we had a similar experience for a me who was the Asian American Body positivity, influence search. And you also receive the pylon of views on on a different
app, a lot of the disorder. And how come, you know, the influence as you have this strong followers than I should come in and help with that duration. So, it was interesting is that we had these problems that sometimes, where, you know, quite similar in nature and play, but when you put them on a different platform that the solutions that came out were different. But I think the best part about it is that in, in all of these onto the combinations of solutions that came out, good work, indeed useful,
for all of this different different one in that, all of the different women that we were designing these conditions for. So, you know, you know, how did Community Support when your apology. But it's interesting that didn't necessarily come out strongly. As I did when we talked about, you not being able to have more control over who can apply and comment on your post. That's just as stressed as helpful for someone that goes viral. Or I think it was Does were in line with
the actual functionality. But you know, the core functionality Ceviche but in the end I think we got to a relief. Great until they could you tell us a bit about those ideas were right. I mean, we as a nation and on reporting so quite fit nicely into that, you seem. So we're pretty tight with fixing moron rationed. It might be things like Ensuring that people have more granular controls if they can see when they see it, exactly where I was when they were chasing around reporting by this scenario.
I do the most around for some pool chemicals in pressure against a timeline. So it's a specific ideas that came out and depended on. It was some really interesting common themes, one thing that and whether they were designed around 3. Was this point. Doesn't matter how great a product feature is, or a safety questions? Or even if those things are, not experienced, such a difficult to understand that kind of redundant. It was a lot of work around clarifying at the process that could be helpful. And one of them
was a whole bravery feature that would explain if you if you have a drop down menu that gives you options report explains. Exactly. Why is meant by that,, make the whole process of these were things that I thought were really, really successful. Great. And you have tech companies in the room thing and you know, there is an argument but the tech companies with their attention. Economies have a vested interest in, not making it easier for abuse to be Stamped Out. Did you find that? They were really receptive to these suggestions?
Yeah. I know. I think, you know, a wee. I think one of the key parts of this process was to make sure that the tech companies involved were part of the process went from the very beginning. So we had all four tech companies, you know, from the first consultation and February 8th, March 2022. The last consultation in February 2021, and then at each Workshop, will help three of them actually and they sent different members of their teams have ever died from product, their policy side of the company and I think being part of the process of being transparent and upfront and
clear about the goal in the ATM, which is that you This whole process is about bringing these different stakeholders together, bringing a wide variety of expertise from within those two companies, but also the Civil Society, organizations also, independent Traders, and government officials. Is there. So many people around the world. Think about this issue every day for women, and it's a different set of expertise, you know, if it is again, this is not just about the process of the technology Design Lab, but we were also really clear
that at the end of this process, you want them to announce these concrete lemon state to truly Taco on my gender based violence and you know, an inn create more gender-equal spaces in their, on their platforms. And you know, and you know, those announcements, you know, different companies and different heads of state will be announcing any commitments that they make in just a couple of weeks time. So, you know, we've been working behind the scenes to make sure that this entire process. Houston. Sure, that, you know, that there are tangible that we've proposed
and some of the examples of how they can think, through solving, the different problems were asking them to us all for which, you know, related to our workshops is around curation and Reporting. So, I think, being part of the process was really important. Really key. I'm in tapping into their in-house expertise as well, you know, there's lots of trust and safety folks and lots of product designer supposed to people that work on these issues. And so yeah, I think it was quality Farm in a couple of weeks time, but I think that you know that
really helped make the process works, have them involved from the beginning and transparent about our objectives. Yeah, that's really encouraging and show that we we talked a little bit about reporting and how that might work. But could you tell Shannon community pools in the how in crack test? You were able to print the type but the ways of doing that? Yeah, sure. When is the first types that came out of prices to school, the ground and say that really off of that controls
so I can help them understand the great Hudson suggestions about the kinds of metrics? There was another one. I will next vacation, which allows you to go into a viral mode. When you do shadow, scales are some pretty interesting ideas about the time, specific abilities control. The Warrior experience. the issue again of look like human language and being able to offer to an inexpensive way rather than like Legalese way was very syrup where you can into some of the ideas and the pick
up with around duration. The ability to do things easily as well to go into a mode in one, click was really important. Scraping together such things that you can easily disable the pin decoration lot. That's definitely, we got a question from the audience from Jack compete. Have you been able to have discussions with tech companies regarding the road and what can be done here? And I've got the scars to prove that this is a tricky question. When that, you know, I think I'm a lot of folks, particularly in the space are still grappling with it. You know, I think on one hand on them in the minute, he
is as vital to ensure freedom of expression for her for every one online, particularly activist and other marginalized communities who you know, may not necessarily live in the end in spaces where they can go to express themselves based on their at, you know, they're their own, their own identity and how they identify. So there, you know, there's obviously there's no support online, but I think you know, we have to be really honest that used violence against And these bases in a lot of the time that the threats that they received for the abuse that they received comes from
Anonymous accounts. So, how do you, how do you balance that that equation? I would love to say that I have the answer but I but I do think that one of the things that we tackled and this these workshops with the idea that a lot of stuff exists on the spot for me. Cuz a lot of content that is if you say violent in nature exists, it does not necessarily mean that woman have to see it and he confronted with it on a daily basis. In fact, about as we know that seeing online abuse can be to sell censorship. It can be two women
leaving these faces and impacts on our society and then greater control over the types of content that you're seeing online greater control over not seem content from certain types of users. Are there. So, you know, users who don't have a profile photo or users who have A smaller number of, you know, followers on their accounts. How can all of these different metrics and different forms of data, help help women and end all users create a safer online experience without content is not, not even necessarily there, but it's definitely not
you, don't find Concentra motor it. What, what they're seeing and I think you know, in terms of having specific conversations around, you haven't had that yet. But you know that Critter Control in Greater creation can help, you know, hide and and stamp out some of that that abused and idv will deter folks from being abusive in the first place. If they know that they're just no typing typing in common. So no one's ever going to see, you know, ideally one would hope that they're there for a while but when women use these faces and
their sole Reliance on and that we so desperately need them to stay on at this. Dude, you send the violence is not something that they are bombarded with an expected to just do as part of their daily lives. Women online. Thank you. I was made to write apologize to the realtor that question. It wasn't. In fact, Jack. Do you want to come in? Or would you about this question? Is that? I think it helps us just reinforce the plane that really considering contextual specificity
Solutions is vital because we can see clearly explained. You know what, I don't need nothing means. I'm going to exposed to an individual patient's. All sometimes. It's extremely important. Sometimes it's difficult problems themselves. Well, to you, it's kind of a crates that we brought to this project because when you dig in really, in detail about well, what does it mean for? This past in this context vs, this person in this context, you know, you have a really interesting and fruit bowls of entry point, into tackling anything
with you and Ginger generation equality Forum in Paris. Yes, I have no idea that you will have on all four of the companies that attended these workshops on our consultation announce, you know, both package of commitments to Taco. I'm on my gender based violence and abuse and some of the things that were asking companies to sell for. As we asked them to solve for a set of problems. I don't mean to make their commitments around the key issues and things that were explored and our Workshop nutrition in reporting is not an exhaustive and set
of problems that they need to self are when tackling the issue of online gender-based violence, but it just consider it on and then, you know, it can't have a real impact on how, you know, women use these faces an entry, at least a 4 online experience as you're still at Solutions, prototypes that came out, across all of these workshops and Iran are round table. And you know, what we're doing is asking companies to know first build better ways for women to create their safety online. Asking them
to do this fight, you know, considering some of the, the key things that were brought out in our, in our, in our Workshop. So you offering more granular settings to reply to post using more simple and accessible language that the user experience, providing easy navigation and accessing accessibility has a Charlotte mentioned came out loads, you know, we don't want for a great attraction. Only be available. When you go down fourteen klicks in the settings page and it needs to be something that people know about and can easily access. And then the other
thing to do is reduce, the burden on, women are actively reducing the amount of abuse that they see. And then it turns out of reporting were asking companies to improve the recording systems. By, you know, what came out in our in our workshops giving users the ability to track and manage their their reports, you know for able to track and manage their the food delivery. When you order from deliver ubereats, I do we will be able to track a report of with you since What stage and it's a tan on each of these platforms, you know, I'm going back to let Charlotte had just mentioned in
terms of Greater capacity to use her such as contacts and language is so important when you're not in English, you know, you know, you know, some of the people who speak other languages are in a local dialect is so important for them to be able to add contacts in and be able to, you know, talk about their experience of using report it and in their local language. We also, as I mentioned one time companies to provide more policy and guidance when recording a few. So making sure that when
you're recording of, you said, you know, you're reporting against specific category of conduct on their platform that isn't allowed. And that you're crystal clear about what that means, what they mean. So that when you make that report that there's a better chance of having a more effective than adequate outcome and then, you know, again a lot of this is about reducing the burden on women. Establishing additional ways for women to access help and support during during the right support and
service satisfied, you know, I think their approach to this has been recognizing that every platform Works. Differently has different technical constraints. So we're trying not to be overly prescriptive. You know, these Solutions can be for asking for them sell the set of problems. And within that use these on prototypes that we have developed a sort of inspiration and illustrative examples of what those Solutions look like. Thank you. We have but one question which I did make up time to Charlotte. You wants to come in. I think it's from Rachel broke.
He said some of the proposed Solutions, engage with avoidance of negative interactions in your projects. Did you see any evidence was taking Jen to Trend toward self-censorship, self-censorship online to avoid abuse and we know that happens. I guess. Do you have anything you'd like to come in with that conversation evidence in research the last number of years? So you should definitely yes. Try to describe a kind of internal Polo. The target of a piece fell between on the one hand, one thing to just leave but on the other hand
are very sensitive and give lots of positive. Yes, definitely is what it feels like to be in that position. Great. And quite a bit of research looking into the silence thing is censoring impactive of online abuse. And remember, this was back in 2017 now. So I got back in 2017. We ran a apple with its this morning looking into women's experiences of abuse and harassment and nine countries are in one of those countries, his supposed to UK. And I think the last month's social media platforms and I think about 23% or
24% of women in the UK had experienced abusive harassment on these platforms experienced abuse or harassment. 78% made some changes to the way that they use these platforms. As if it stalled and 33% had said that As a result of experiencing this harassment, so I think those thoughts and you know this in so many reports since then as well really underscore just how how much this this, you know, these impacts woman's abilities, a woman's ability to express herself freely online and how much women have to think
once twice three times 10 times before they post online because of that, you know, the idea that they know that what they're saying, my traps trigger a backlash and Trigger abuse and you know again going back to what came out on our consultations and then other evidence, we know that when you're a journalist or a politician and your job is to be in the public eye. Our job is to be in the Publix where I met. So many of these platforms are the new town squares that, you know, when they do Express, how they feel that, that is something that they constantly have to be prepared for, and that is
utterly exhausting. And you know, that shouldn't be that the norm for how these women use these faces. I'm beside Lee and sadly. It is and be seen so many women read online space says, I don't because of you, if you said they receiving because of inadequate, I'm support from platform. So, you know, we do hope that some of the solutions that we've come up with and some of the things that were calling for for tech companies, can help improve those experiences, whether it's around the type of content, they see online or ensuring that when they do experience of using report at that. There's a more
effective response. Well, that's quite a depressing thought really. It is very encouraging through your project. You've been able to come up with some exciting Innovations. We could really make a difference for an absolutely fantastic conversation, which iPhone, meaning really helpful.
Buy this talk
Interested in topic “IT & Technology”?
You might be interested in videos from this event
Buy this video
Our other topics
With ConferenceCast.tv, you get access to our library of the world's best conference talks.