Learn More About Online Violence
Online violence is a type of violence and abuse which creates a hostile online environment with the aim of shaming, intimidating or degrading users. International research has shown that women are disproportionately targeted as well as people of color, non-binary people, LGBTQIA+ communities, and ethnic and religious minorites. Online abuse comprises a range of tactics and malicious behaviors that may include sharing embarrassing or cruel content about a person, impersonation, doxxing and violent threats, amongst others.
Learn more about online violence, its effects, and how to help with the following resources.
What is online abuse?
PEN America describes online abuse as the “pervasive or severe targeting of an individual or group online through harmful behavior.” The glossary of terms describes abusive tactics that writers and journalists face, as well as provides examples and tips on what to do.
Who is targeted?
Research by UNESCO and International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ) has shown online violence disproportionately targets women journalists, people of color, non-binary people, LGBTQIA+ communities, and ethnic and religious minorites
The Committee to Protect Journalists found in a 2019 survey that online harassment is the biggest safety threat for 90 percent of female and gender non-conforming journalists surveyed in the United States and Canada.
Journalists covering topics like corruption or topics related to gender or considered as taboos are also mainly targeted at an international level, shows Reporters without Borders.
What are the consequences?
Seventy three percent of female journalists in the world have already experienced online violence, states UNESCO and ICFJ. And this is having a serious impact on freedom of expression, according to a study published in 2018 by IWMF and TrollBusters, nearly one third of female journalists envision leaving the profession because of online violence.
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UNESCO and ICFJ
A global survey of 901 journalists from 125 countries conducted in five languages, revealing that women journalists are now more exposed to online violence than ever.
In-depth research into women’s experiences of using Twitter to build the world’s largest crowd-sourced dataset of online abuse against women, thanks to a joint effort by human rights researchers, technical experts and thousands of online volunteers.
A report revealing the impact of online abuse on female journalists: one-third of female journalists envision leaving the profession.
The Committee to Protect Journalists
Ninety percent of female journalists in the U.S. interviewed in this survey said that online abuse has become their biggest safety threat.
Women’s Media Center
A report highlighting the daily challenges of online harassment, and how a corporate culture manages those challenges directly linked to inclusivity and diversity at every level of media management and production.
A report studying how safe are social media platforms now, revealing a rise in race-based harassment in the U.S.
Actionable changes that social media companies can and should make now to the design of their platforms to better protect and support their users—while safeguarding free expression.
A resource guide aimed to assist States and provide guidance to all relevant stakeholders, including non-State actors, across the OSCE region in addressing online harassment and abuse against women journalists.
Recommendations for social media platforms on how to improve their services and address online harassment and abuse, particularly of women journalists.
A global resource of practical tools and strategies to defend against online abuse by PEN America.
Seven takeaways from a worldwide consultation on online gender-based violence and abuse launched by the Web Foundation.
Trolling of female journalists is on the rise, says Ms. Magazine.
The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) and the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas
A self-paced online course with interviews of women journalists who have been targeted by online abusers, as well as practical tips for protecting your data and digital safety.
The IWMF and Free Press Unlimited’s Totem
A detailed look at trolls and trolling behavior. The course also provides practical guidance on how to better protect against attacks, including how to document abuse. Available in English, Spanish (español), French (français), and Arabic (عربى).
The IWMF and Free Press Unlimited’s Totem
Practical steps for better securing your online data and protecting against doxxing. Available in English, Spanish (español), French (français), and Arabic (عربى).
OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media
Produced by the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, in cooperation with the International Press Institute (IPI), it comprises first-hand experiences shared by leading women journalists targeted with online violence.
Coalition Against Online Violence
A coalition of organizations offering journalists collective support, bolstering their digital security and empowering the news media at large to keep their employees safer online.