Pen America launches guide for writers to defend against cyber abuse & calls on social media companies to improve their policies re online harassment
Author: Pen America, Published on: 27 August 2018
There is now a growing recognition that online harassment can affect its targets’ freedom to express themselves, their livelihoods, and their mental and physical health. It is also clear that online harassment can extend to the offline world, especially for those who receive direct, specific threats of sexual violence, bodily harm, and even death... [Pen America's] 2017 Online Harassment Survey of over 230 journalists and writers found that 67 percent of respondents had experienced a severe reaction to being targeted by online harassment... PEN America’s Online Harassment Field Manual... is designed to give people resources, tools, and tips to help them respond safely and effectively to incidents of online harassment and hateful speech...
The Field Manual is only a first step... Social media companies must improve their policies regarding online harassment, including reconceptualizing procedures for reviewing cases of alleged online abuse, creating appropriate penalties for offenders who commit abusive behavior, being more transparent about their internal processes, and offering an appeals process for users who have been punished... Employers and publishers of writers—including newsrooms, publishing houses, and digital publications—can do more to support writers who experience online harassment by creating policies and procedures to help employees and freelancers during episodes of harassment. [refers to Facebook & Twitter]