Facebook publishes stay safe guide for women

Julie de Bailliencourt, Facebook
Julie de Bailliencourt, Facebook

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13 October 2016 | 0

Facebook, in partnership with Women’s Aid, launch a safety guide for women, titled A Guide to Staying Safe on Facebook. The guide has been developed in collaboration with safety experts and NGOs in the field of women’s safety, such as the National Network to End Domestic Violence in the US (NNEDV). The launch comes three weeks after the release of a report by the Law Reform Commission outlining 32 points of action to protect users from cyberbullying online.

The launch which took place at Facebook’s international headquarters in Dublin was followed by a training session with Facebook’s safety experts for people working in several key Irish organistions supporting women victims of domestic violence.

According to the charity Women’s Aid, that digital abuse often occurs within the pattern of domestic and dating abuse, both online and offline. These bahvaiours can include stalking, damaging rumours, partners demanding access to private passwords and sexually explicit images being shared without consent are among common digital abuse issues reported through the helpline.

A Guide to Staying Safe on Facebook is a tool to educate and empower women on how to protect their privacy online and use the many online safety tools Facebook has developed. It also provides tips to help women maintain safety and control over their information.

Speaking at the launch, Julie de Bailliencourt, head of safety policy at Facebook, EMEA said: “We take safety on Facebook very seriously. By working with experts like Women’s Aid to help shape our products, policies and community education programmes we can create a safe space for women to communicate and share.

“We want to educate people in how to use our online tools, and encourage anyone to report unwanted or non-consensual content so that Facebook remains a safe space for all. We have a zero tolerance policy on abusive, bullying or harassing content, as well as revenge porn or non consensual sharing of intimate images. Any piece of content on Facebook can be reported to our teams. We also have special reporting mechanisms in our Help Centre for people who may be blackmailed, victims of domestic violence or targeted by ex-partners. All reports of abuse are confidential and are handled swiftly by our team of sfety experts.”

Margaret Martin, director of Women’s Aid, said: “Digital abuse in intimate relationships is real and it is harmful. We have long been concerned about disclosures of digital abuse made to our National Freephone Helpline and other services. The impact of this type of insidious abuse on women’s lives cannot be underestimated.

“While this guide is for all women, it may be of particular importance and relevance to any woman experiencing online abuse and harassment from a partner or ex.  It is an essential guide for women.  It is accessible, concise and clear and will be useful for women who have concerns about their privacy.”

Advice in the guide focuses on three general areas: security, privacy and having a trusted network. The guide educates women about protecting their password and setting up login approvals, login notifications and trusted contacts. A privacy check-up is recommended to manage and control who can see personal information and what is being shared.

Finally, the third line of defence is defining a trusted community. Facebook and Women’s Aid remind women to connect with people they know and trust, to unfriend or block people who are not welcome in their network and report content that is unwanted, abusive or non-consensual.

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