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World Social Media Day

World Social Media Day

June 30 is celebrated as World Social Media Day. While technology is empowering and enabling, it has also helped to transfer and recreate misogyny, sexism and violence against women in social networks.

A few years ago, extreme misogyny existed on platforms like Reddit, but now content that abuses, shames, and threatens women has started appearing on mainstream platforms like Tik-Tok, says Kara Alaimo, Associate Professor of Communication, Fairleigh Dickinson University. Women continue to experience online violence themselves and see it happening to other women too.

Dr. Shalu Nigam, lawyer, feminist advocate, researcher and activist says that while the digital divide exists, with women on the margins being denied access to technology, cybercrime against women has a devastating effect on them.

Alaimo calls for reforms and urges women not to retreat from social media. Social media does have its advantages. It’s a great source of learning, empowerment and access to people and opportunities, she says.

But to make it a safe place for women, girls and people of all genders, Alaimo suggests the following.

1) Amplify posts of women. Women get less engagement than men on social networks.

2) Don’t comment on misogynistic posts. Instead, have a private conversation with the person who made the post. Comments mean engagement and more engagement means more of the same content. Or you could do ‘positive slamming’, and praise the woman who has been targeted, on another post.

3) Report misogynistic posts to the respective platforms.

InkSights is a monthly art series by NWMI member Anupama Bijur viewing current affairs through a gender and news lens.

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