Jan. 26th, 2012

  • 11:39 PM
la_vie_noire: (Utena-orz)
Via [personal profile] delux_vivens:

Silicon Valley companies don’t get the full range of dangers involved with online advocacy.

It therefore baffles me how little consideration they have for those individuals who need to be protected online especially if they use the internet as a resource to engage in risky (but necessary) activities. Anything from discouraging anonymity on the likes of Facebook and Google+ to requiring legit photos on sites like LinkedIn, not realizing that some of us live in areas where human rights advocacy is not just frowned upon but severely punishable by our governments. Anything you do to protect yourself – these companies consider to be against their “user agreement” forcing you to reveal sensitive information, making this field 10 times more dangerous just so these companies can be more “relevant” and therefore profitable. The problem is that we can’t just simply quit these services. We need them as tools to empower our work.

Every other week I’d get an email from an internet service stating that my account has been deleted or disabled.

Why? “You’re not using a real photo.” No, I use an avatar, which they deleted, and then another avatar, which they also deleted, and attempted to keep it empty, which they didn’t allow, and then finally resorted to just having a logo – but uh oh! Disabled again. This is despite my several attempts at communicating this to customer service reps at these companies. They couldn’t care less. Regardless of what their CEOs say at tech conferences. Irrelevant. They do not abide by these values when it comes to managing their companies and reviewing their user agreements and privacy policies. Do we matter?

But they will never understand it. They think everyone is a rich white cis man in a first world country and "it's not a big deal" to share personal information. But sometimes, it is a big deal. Also, they get money and publicity from "personal information" so...
la_vie_noire: (Stop with the idiocy)
The memory of sexist abuse online.

Memory of pain is a peculiar thing. There’s no doubt that the online abuse I got then, hurt – but I have difficulty remembering what it felt like. I remember the disgust I felt at those cartoons: I don’t think I was afraid but I’m not sure I would remember feeling fear any more than I properly remember feeling pain – they’re both essentially visceral emotions, not easy to remember with your head years afterwards. What I do remember, from both then and now, is the anger, the frustration, at not being able to do anything to the men who were enjoying themselves hurting me. Reporting them to LJ Abuse ceased to be satisfying as an act of retaliation when it became clear after a few days that LJ Abuse intended to do nothing about them. Banning them from my journal was not satisfying when I knew they would simply create a new journal and comment again. I wanted those men to be stopped. I wanted them permanently off livejournal as their playground. I wanted the ones who’d posted the worst threats reported to their local law enforcement. I wanted LJ Abuse to take action, as according to their own TOS they were obliged to do. And I do remember exactly how it felt to know that they wouldn’t.

As a direct result of my experiences as a product that didn’t fit in the eggbox, I became an early adopter (2007) of the Internet proverb that if you’re not paying, you’re not the customer, you’re the product. Website corporations will only care about online abuse of “the product” if it makes “the product” less saleable: and the online abusers, let’s not forget, are also “the product”. And it appears quite likely to me that they are considered a better “product” than we are – this is a gendered situation, with women overwhelmingly those being abused in this way. Women are traditionally, simply not considered as valuable an audience for advertisers. Why would our corporate overlords care if online abusers drive women away from their site, so long as the men stay?


The reality of online abuse is that some men hate women. As Sian at Crooked Rib points out, there is a recognisable set of excuses by men to make out that it doesn’t happen. The reason why so many website hosts ignore it or treat it as unimportant – we’re not useful product. Of course that perception too is rooted in sexism, and the use of sexist abuse to silence women is, as Laurie Penny points out, Older Than Dirt.


la_vie_noire: (Default)
[personal profile] la_vie_noire

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