"Emotional violence"

Women fight back against online abuse

Anita Sarkeesian. (Jim Wilson/The New York Times)

Despite outward commitment to combatting abuse, tech companies have been slow to silence abusive users, citing concerns about censorship and the difficulty of identifying what is and isn’t harassment. But as tech companies stand by, former targets of abuse have been fighting back themselves.

Systems engineer Randi Lee Harper had a SWAT team called in on her house by online harassers after she created an auto-blocker for Twitter that let users pre-emptively block users likely to be associated with harassment groups. Harper has since founded the Online Abuse Prevention Network, where, thanks to the support of individual donors, she is able to work full-time assisting targeted individuals, by securing their personal information at no charge.

Zoe Quinn (Facebook)

Zoe Quinn (Facebook)

Independent game-maker Zoe Quinn has created a similar resource called the Crash Override network, a “crisis helpline, advocacy group and resource centre” for people experiencing online abuse. Crash Override is supported by individual donors and Feminist Frequency, a non-profit web series, run by Anita Sarkeesian, that focuses on representations of women in popular culture. Both Quinn and Sarkeesian were famously targeted by online abusers for their stance on video games during a series of online attacks that would become known as Gamergate.

Read the full story at The Guardian.


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