There’s an article doing the rounds at the moment that really hit hard as both a male, a parent and an honest internet user – I urge you to read it, for nothing else other than the fact that awareness is education.
One aspect of the article that struck me and other readers, other than the obvious shock and horror at the fact that this actually happens and so openly, is just what the technology platforms can or should be doing to protect their users? As a parent I understand my role and obligation to my children to educate them on both the inappropriate behaviour and to talk about it if they ever spot it themselves. By having these open and sometimes awkward conversations it makes it easier if the time ever comes when we need a different talk, but I hope it won’t ever come to that.
In response to the article, considering the grooming and the obscenely brazen way those men approached the subject girl, are we as users of those platforms doing enough to hold the platform owners to account? What can we do as (innocent?) bystanders to encourage or force a responsibility on them to tackle this and other unacceptable behaviour. Can machine learning, sentiment analysis on posts after-submission-but-before-posting, etc. Can AI help root out and remove this activity before our children are affected?
I’m pretty sure there is more we can and should be doing, but I don’t know what it is other than supporting those who are doing something, and raising the profile of the technology and platforms that do not address this. What more is there? Boycott? Moderate? Who are the main platform-offenders … Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, SnapChat, etc.? Other than reading the (lengthy and deliberately) confusing T&Cs for each AND holding the platform to account when activity violates the T&Cs (examples here and here and here and here and here), what can we do?