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Online abuse stifles free expression, threatens livelihoods, and undermines equity.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Online abuse shouldn’t be a given. Yet every day, users across social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter face rape and death threats, racial slurs, sexual harassment, doxing, and countless other abusive tactics—often in an effort to intimidate, discredit, or silence.

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READ MORE: “As a woman writing about the lives of LGBTQIA+ people for the opinion pages of The New York Times, I know firsthand what it means to be on the receiving end of vitriol.” —Jennifer Finney Boylan

Online abuse restricts free speech, undermines equity and inclusion, threatens lives and livelihoods, and erodes mental and physical health. It disproportionately impacts women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ people, and religious and ethnic minorities. And it places writers, journalists, and other creative and media professionals in an increasingly untenable double bind: face relentless harassment or step back from the very platforms you need to do your job.

We’re SICK OF THIS S#!T. But there are solutions.

For years, PEN America has equipped writers and journalists with strategies and resources to defend themselves and others through our Field Manual, in-person training seminars, and virtual events. Today, we’re asking you to join us to #FightOnlineAbuseNow. 

Here’s what we can do together

Change the conversation

Change the conversation

Online abuse is more than a personal attack—it chills free speech and undermines equity.
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Demand better tools

Demand better tools

Social media companies must build better tools NOW to protect users from abuse while also safeguarding free expression.
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Protect each other

Protect each other

Support people facing online abuse—as allies, friends, colleagues, and employers.
HERE'S HOW

Online abuse threatens free speech

No One Should Have To Face Online Abuse Alone

No One Should Have To Face Online Abuse Alone

Platforms must enable users to nominate a handful of trusted contacts (friends, followers, etc.) to join these teams, which users can turn to in times of critical need.
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Shielding Users From Online Abuse: A Free Speech-Conscious Approach to Fighting Harassment

Shielding Users From Online Abuse: A Free Speech-Conscious Approach to Fighting Harassment

There's no reason why social media platforms can't create a shield that treats online abuse like toxic spam, filtering it out and quarantining it for review.
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Three Ways Social Media Companies Can Disarm Abusive Users

Three Ways Social Media Companies Can Disarm Abusive Users

To protect targets of online abuse, social media companies must actively discourage abuse and hold abusive users accountable. 
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Five Steps Social Media Companies Can Take Now to Fight Online Abuse

Five Steps Social Media Companies Can Take Now to Fight Online Abuse

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms can take five easy steps to make their platforms safer for users facing online abuse.
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Facebook and Twitter: End the excuses

At this point, there’s no excuse for online abuse. In PEN America’s report, we lay out concrete, actionable changes Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media companies need to make ASAP to the design of their platforms to #FightOnlineAbuseNow.

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Get updates and join us to fight back against online abuse

Online abuse stifles free speech and is making social media a toxic environment. PEN America is leading the charge to #FightOnlineAbuseNow. Sign up now for updates (you can unsubscribe at any time).

Already signed up? Click here and ask your friends to join the fight.

 

You’re not alone

If you’re facing or witnessing online abuse and need help, check out our resources. And if online abuse has made you hesitate to use your voice or driven you off a platform—and you feel empowered to share your story with us—click the button below.

We won’t publish anything without your consent, nor will we share any of your information or anything that could help identify you.

Our partners

PEN America has partnered on this campaign with the Coalition Against Online Violence, 35+ organizations providing support and advocacy for writers, journalists, artists, activists, and others facing online abuse.

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More resources

Facebook, Twitter, and the World’s Most Dangerous Amusement Park

Facebook, Twitter, and the World’s Most Dangerous Amusement Park

Writer and PEN America Trustee Jennifer Finney Boylan draws a connection between Facebook, Twitter, and the world’s most dangerous amusement park.
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You’re Not Powerless in the Face of Online Harassment

You’re Not Powerless in the Face of Online Harassment

If you or someone you know comes under attack of online harassment, remember that you are not powerless. There are concrete steps you can take to defend yourself.
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Why You Should Dox Yourself (Sort Of)

Why You Should Dox Yourself (Sort Of)

If you’re at risk for online abuse, there are some unexpected steps you can take to protect yourself.
Read More

Artwork by Hieronymus/Lucy Jones/Melissa Joskow

 

Belarusian protesters in background; on top: “I Support PEN Belarus” and PEN America logo

Our sister organization PEN Belarus has spent years uplifting writers and supporting the freedom to write. Now, the government is trying to shut them down. Show your support and tell them they’re not alone.

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