Internet Governance Forum Plans New ‘Anti-Cyberviolence’ Push

LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images
LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

The United Nations report on “cyberviolence against women and girls,” which called on national governments to censor the internet, was withdrawn for revision earlier this week following widespread criticism and mockery. But a new hashtag by the U.N-created Internet Governance Forum (IGF) designed to spread the concept even further is still scheduled for today.

The IGF’s website calls on supporters to pledge their support to a social media push scheduled to launch today, 9th October, at 1pm Pacific Time. So far, 39 supporters have agreed to join a Twitter campaign asking, “What impact does online violence have on women and girls?” The message will be mass-posted today on the “#TakeBackTheTech” hashtag.

The tweet links back to the IGF’s website, where interested parties are encouraged to submit input on a draft document on “Online Violence Against Women and Girls” from the IGF’s Best Practices Forum.

The IGF’s definition of “cyberviolence” is just as shaky as the U.N’s. Alongside criminal uses of the internet, it lists “cyber bullying and privacy violations” as “emerging forms of violence.” Similarly to the U.N, the IGF also calls on national governments to get involved, as well as “civil society advocates, the academic community, international organisations,” and a host of other stakeholders.

Like the U.N. report, the IGF’s draft document does not address the question of why women, who according to the Pew Research Centre make up a minority of web users affected by online harassment and abuse, should have a specific focus. Nor does it explain the decision to redefine cyber bullying and privacy violations as “violence.”

GamerGate supporters, ever the watchdogs against backdoor attempts to censor the internet, discovered the planned social media push yesterday. “The U.N. is far from done with internet censorship,” warned pro-GamerGate blogger Ethan Ralph. “In fact, they’re just getting started.”

GamerGate supporters are now flooding the IGF’s hashtag with their characteristic mixture of serious argument and irreverent internet memes. Thanks to the glaring flaws in the recent U.N. report, the word “CyberViolence” has already become a joke on social media. A Twitter search for the term returns mainly ridicule and mockery. If GamerGate mobilises, #TakeBackTheTech is likely to meet the same fate.

Follow Allum Bokhari @LibertarianBlue on Twitter


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