The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has hired its first director of technology and society, Brittan Heller, to collaborate with tech companies to combat online harassment. It’s an important step for helping companies stop online abuse.
In this excellent New York Times interview by Anna North, Ms. Heller offers advice for others dealing with harassment online:
Part of the power that the harassers have is they like to make people feel isolated, and sometimes part of the ongoing harm of these kind of crimes is that you feel like there’s no meaningful way for you to fight back, there’s no way for you to adequately speak out against what’s happening to you.
I would not let the harassment take your voice away. You can talk to family, teachers and friends about what you’re experiencing and what you’ve seen. You can be a support for other people experiencing the same thing, and you can call out people who are trying to incite hate online. Also, educate yourself. Look at the terms of service or community guidelines for the type of platforms and social media that you’re using, and find out what kind of site that company wants to run. Most say that they don’t wish to host hateful content.”
ADL’s website publishes extensive resources at Combating Hate, including best practices for responding to cyber abuse. Additional information is available at Stop Cyberbullying, a Federal government website.