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Twitter is going WAM to curb online harrassment against women

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Harassment rises from the annals of the Internet and spews from those cloaked by pseudonyms, but a women's advocacy group is launching a Twitter initiative to combat the verbal abused hurled at females on social networking sites.

Women, Action and the Media (WAM), a nonprofit organization, has created a form on its website with which women can report cases of Twitter users harassing females.

With each report it receives, WAM says it will work with Twitter on the social network's responses to the harassment. WAM warns that it's can't force Twitter to do anything, but the nonprofit expressed hope that both organizations will learn more about the issue.

"We're using this pilot project to learn about what kind of gendered harassment is happening on Twitter, how that harassment intersects with other kinds of harassment (racist, transphobic, etc.), and which kinds of cases Twitter is prepared (and less prepared) to respond to," states WAM's reporting form.

Twitter users can use the reporting form to share cases of harassment involving themselves or other parties.

Complainants are required to provide their email addresses, their Twitter handles, and information on the amount of perceived harassers. They are also required to declare the amount of times they've used the reporting platform and specify if they're being harassed on other platforms.

Complainants are required to write a description of the harassment, provide dates covering the term of the abuse and to categorizes the type of harassing behavior they have been experiencing. The categories of harassing behaviors include impersonation, terroristic threats, threats to leak private information, libelous speech, hate speech, revenge porn and inciting other individuals to engage in harassing behavior.

With the murky waters of Gamergate now spilling from forums onto popular social networking sites, the war within the video gaming world has focused primarily on the women who have been victimized by threats of rape and death. But both men and women have suffered abuses that haven't blipped onto the mainstream's radar, after the individuals spoke out against those who decry misogyny in video games.

The viciousness of Gamergate and the harassment of prominent females may be symptoms of what else is wrong with social media on the Internet: people say and do things they'd never do offline, many of which are deplorable and depraved acts of self-interest.

A recent study by Pew Research Center indicated that women are harassed significantly more than men in some categories, while the reserve is true in others. Men are more likely than women to suffer name calling and physical threats, while females are more likely to be victimized by stalking and sexual harassment.

The study indicates that WAM is waging its fight against the harassment of women in the right place, as Pew reports that women were most likely to be harassed on social media platforms. Men were most likely to be harassed in online video games.

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