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- May 2021
Charlotte Jee recently wrote a lovely fictional intro to a piece on a “feminist Internet” that crystallized something I can’t quite believe I never saw before; if girls, women and non-binary people really got to choose where they spent their time online, we would never choose to be corralled into the hostile, dangerous spaces that endanger us and make us feel so, so bad. It’s obvious when you think about it. The current platforms are perfectly designed for misogyny and drive literally countless women from public life, or dissuade them from entering it. Online abuse, doxing, blue-tick dogpiling, pro-stalking and rape-enabling ‘features’ (like Strava broadcasting runners’ names and routes, or Slack’s recent direct-messaging fiasco) only happen because we are herded into a quasi-public sphere where we don’t make the rules and have literally nowhere else to go.
A strong list of toxic behaviors that are meant to keep people from having a voice in the online commons. We definitely need to design these features out of our social software.