International Women’s Day: Women call for safe social media platforms

Posted on March 08, 2024 in News.

international women's day

Women have the right to be safe online. Despite social media giants’ promises to keep women safe online, these companies have turned a blind eye to women being harassed, discriminated against, and abused on their platforms. 

According to Statista, 26% of women worldwide have experienced lower self-esteem or a loss of self-confidence due to harmful online content, and 24% have reduced their internet usage. Even when women report abuse or harassment, internet companies fail to act. 

Center for Countering Digital Hate research has shown how teenage girls are bombarded with harmful content that affects their mental health on TikTok; how high-profile women are subject to abuse on Instagram’s DMs; how LGBTQ+ people are harassed online; and how toxic incel forums spread their vile misogyny.

But it doesn’t need to be that way. CCDH’s mission is to build a safer digital space for everyone, so we asked women from diverse backgrounds to share what they’d want the internet to look like. Here’s what they said:

Women in the LGBTQ+ community

“As a woman in the LGBTQ+ community who grew up in the digital age, the lack of online safety self-regulation by social media companies has totally informed and limited the way that I interact with social media.

For my own mental health and wellbeing, I avoid certain platforms and limit my exposure to social media in general. A safe online world is one where I can fully engage without fear of interacting with harmful content. I think back on how much of a positive impact effective regulation would have made on me when I was a kid online learning both about the world and myself through social media.

Policy and regulatory measures are critical to protecting women, LGBTQ+ folks, and other marginalized groups online. And that’s why CCDH research is meeting the moment and shining a spotlight on this issue.”

Women’s fundamental right to be safe online

“Women have a fundamental right to safety online, but social media companies repeatedly fail us. We need policymakers to step up so that we can express ourselves freely without fear.”

Misogyny reaching younger generations

“As a woman, it can be discouraging to see so much online misogyny. As if all we’ve been fighting for was reduced to a man on a podcast saying women can’t be enough, can’t be independent, can’t be powerful, and should only be mothers. It worries me that these ideas spread in toxic manosphere spaces are on the rise and reaching younger generations.

But women from all diversities should not be facing abuse. We have the right to exist safely online. It’s crucial for social media giants and policymakers to act now, they must put proper systems in place so that every woman can be safe online.”

woman in white long sleeve shirt holding gold iphone 6
Photo by Vladimir Fedotov on Unsplash

Enjoy the internet without manosphere content

“I want to roam the internet without being interrupted by manosphere content which social media companies allow and often profit off. Manosphere content creators poison particularly young men with unrealistic and unhealthy expectations of women, leading to fatal consequences for the latter. Policymakers must pressure social media companies to take responsibility and accountability for continuing to fail women online.”

A world without harassment and sexism

“I’d like not to see women being harassed and threatened every day on social media. I’d like women not to be the targets of hideous hate campaigns that involve waves of sexist slurs and sexually explicit content – which often drive them to give up on their careers and life choices.

I’d like not to think that every time my younger sister goes out, someone influenced by Andrew Tate can treat her like trash. Social media companies must stop pretending their platforms are safe for women and start acting to counter online misogyny. Every woman, no matter who they are, should feel safe both online and offline.”

Online hate against LGBTQ+ people

“When I came out as a gay woman, I felt supported by my loved ones. However, my biggest concern at that time was seeing the hate on social media for LGBTQ+ people. To protect myself, I removed myself from the online world.

This is why CCDH’s STAR Framework is so important to me. It represents everyone who has felt real-world harm online. It states that we need to reset our relationship with technology companies and collectively legislate to address the systems that amplify hate and dangerous misinformation around the globe. Everyone deserves to feel safe online.”

This International Women’s Day 2024, women from different backgrounds are asking for the same thing: their right to feel safe online. 

It’s time for governments and lawmakers worldwide to demand social media companies stop allowing women to be harassed and abused on their platforms. Join our call for safer online spaces for women and girls.