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Twitter is working with an advocacy group to investigate the harassment of women

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A new tool for reporting abuse

Amid heightened scrutiny of the way social networks enable the harassment of women online, Twitter said it is working with an advocacy group to investigate reports of abuse. A group called Women, Action, and the Media, which advocates for better representation of women, is testing a new reporting process for gender-based harassment. The group developed a tool for reporting harassment and will forward confirmed reports to Twitter. "If it checks out, we'll escalate it to Twitter right away (24 hours max, hopefully much less than that) and work to get you a speedy resolution," says the group, which abbreviates itself as WAM. "But please note: we're not Twitter, and we can't make decisions for them."

The partnership comes in the wake of high-profile threats against game critic Anita Sarkeesian and other women working in the industry. Since then, critics have asked Twitter to improve its reporting and blocking tools, which have been ineffective in curbing abuse. "We're always trying to improve the way we handle abuse issues, and WAM is one of many organizations we work with around the world on best practices for user safety," a company spokesman told The Verge.

wam

WAM says it will use data collected from its reporting tool to analyze gendered harassment on Twitter in the hopes of improving Twitter's response to all forms of abuse. "The disproportionate targeting of women online results in them removing their voices from the public conversation," WAM's executive director, Jaclyn Friedman, told Fast Company. "We're so glad that Twitter recognizes that the best way to ensure equally free speech for all users on their platform is to ensure that all users are equally free to speak without being targeted by harassment, abuse and threats." You can report gender-based harassment to WAM at this link.