We love social media. Facebook has more than one billion users worldwide. Twitter has half that and averages 58 million tweets per day, and Google+ boasts 390 million users each month. Instagram users have shared 16 billion photos, and Tumblr hosts more than 150 million blogs. Different times zones, diverse languages: it’s a big chunk of the world.
We love how easy it is to keep up with friends, share photos, promote our interests, speak our minds and learn from each other. But there are a few things we don’t love. We don’t love Google tracking everything we do. Or Twitter using our data to tailor advertising. Or Facebook changing their privacy conditions frequently with great potential impact to our safety and dignity.
We also don’t love how these sites have become popular channels for individuals to violate our privacy. Using social media, people share our intimate photos and videos without our permission, document and share acts of violence against us just for fun, harass, threaten and stalk.
What is the responsibility of social media platforms when incidents like these occur? Do they do enough to prevent and respond to them? How can they improve their response without limiting our right to express ourselves freely?
Every time we use social media, we trade some of our privacy for access. But we have limits. We’ve drawn our lines. Demand accountability!
WRITE LOVE LETTERS
Write a love letter in support of ending violence against women. You can write it to a decision-maker for greater response and accountability or to a survivor of online violence in support and solidarity.
Send the letter and, if you feel comfortable, share it with us at email@example.com or upload it to our site as an image or blog. For inspiration, check out World Pulse’s Love Letters to End Violence.
- Write to a Decision-Maker
Decision-makers need to know what we love and what we don’t love. For example, you could tell Google that you love their search engine but you don’t love that they monitor your searches so they can send you more ads. Let them know what kind of love you need!
- Write to a Survivor
Do you know someone who has experienced a privacy violation through social media? Survivors need our support! Write them love letters to let them know that you are there to listen and support them and to remind them that they have rights and are loved. Connect them to Take Back the Tech!’s Be Safe section to help them increase their digital security.
Speak truth to power and support survivors. Make social media part of the solution!