Intel, Vox Media, Re/code and Born This Way Foundation are coming together to co-create Hack Harassment (#hackharassment), a new, collaborative initiative to fight online harassment and provide safer, more inclusive online experiences.
The initiative was announced today by Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, Vox Media Chairman and CEO Jim Bankoff, Re/code Executive Editor and Co-Founder Kara Swisher, and Born This Way Foundation Co-Founder and President Cynthia Germanotta at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
“Online harassment is pervasive and can be vicious,” said Krzanich. “If we’re to truly succeed in a smart and connected world, we need to remember that behind every device, game, sensor or network is a real person with real feelings and real needs for safety. No one company can address this issue alone – as an industry, we need to work together to create a safer, more inclusive online experience.”
Through Hack Harassment, Intel, Vox Media, Re/code and Born This Way Foundation aim to encourage collaboration across the technology industry and beyond by harnessing the power of innovation to fight online harassment. The companies urged the technology industry, media industry, nonprofit organizations, academia, influencers and thought leaders, and members of online communities to join the initiative.
“We want to lend our support to raise awareness and accountability of online harassment,” said Bankoff. “As a company that is built on the notion of open expression online, we want to do our part to protect individuals and communities who seek to communicate without fear of harassment. We invite all media companies to join us in this effort.”
To further understand the technology industry’s relationship to the issue of online harassment, Intel, Vox Media, Re/code and Born This Way Foundation recently conducted a representative survey of technology professionals living in the United States. Notable findings include:
Eighty-four percent of technology professionals believe there is real-life risk and emotional impact for the person being harassed online—most commonly a damaging impact on the victim’s reputation (75 percent) and the potential to influence self-harm (66 percent).
More than 6 in 10 technology professionals think that the tech industry is not doing enough to prevent online harassment.
More than 8 in 10 technology professionals agree that the tech industry needs to do more to prevent online harassment.
More than 80% of tech professionals agree taking actions to prevent online harassment could be effective.
In terms of possible deterrents and solutions, 75 percent of technology professionals believe a universal code of online conduct would help curb harassment, 51 percent believe that blocking IP addresses of known harassers would be very effective, and 47 percent believe building more tools into sites to allow users to block or report content would be very effective.
“Online harassment violates an individual's basic right to feel safe and respected. Our young people are spending more time online than ever before, making it more important than ever before to face this problem head on. Working together, we can find smart solutions and make meaningful change, ensuring that every young person can make their voices heard without fear of harassment,” said Germanotta.
Intel, Vox Media, Re/code and Born This Way Foundation announced that as a first step, they intend to host a series of hackathons through Hack Harassment later this year. These hackathons will be online and in-person sessions that are participatory in design, outcome-driven and community-led. The goal is not just one of awareness but to also increase accountability, advance anti-harassment technology solutions and effect positive change.
“The Internet is a digital environment, but it is made up of very real people and, unfortunately, sometimes very real threats,” said Swisher. “It will take a solution-oriented approach with a variety of stakeholders to make the impact that’s needed to stop the kind of online harassment that too many suffer on a daily basis.”
Intel, Vox Media, Re/code and Born This Way Foundation plan to share findings, recommendations and progress from Hack Harassment at Re/code’s annual Code Conference, taking place May 31-June 2.