This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Yashasvini Mathur. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

How To Use Technology To Beat Those Who Misuse It

More from Yashasvini Mathur

Facebook logoEditor’s Note: With #NoPlace4Hate, Youth Ki Awaaz and Facebook have joined hands to help make the Internet a safer space for all. Watch this space for powerful stories of how young people are mobilising support and speaking out against online bullying.

Last year, in a memo which was leaked to the press, Twitter’s former CEO said, “We suck at dealing with trolls and abuse on the platform and we’ve sucked at it for years. It’s no secret and the rest of the world talks about it every day.”

When one of the world’s largest social media platform’s boss proclaims that the organisation is failing to make the internet safe – we know the situation is dire.

Many studies show that a person’s initial few posts can predict if or not they showcase troll behaviour in the future. Apps like “Rethink” here are integral to ensure that such trolls can be countered. Google’s predictive technology called “Perspective API” is another example of predictive apps that may help people think before they post.

I first came across rethink on “Shark Tank”, a reality television show that helps entrepreneurs connect investors. What “Rethink” does, is all in its name – it gives you an opportunity to ‘rethink’ your comment, in order to ensure that you stop – before you post. Similarly, Google’s perspective AI uses a scale that indicates if your comments could be hurtful.

Both these technologies are available as additions to your browser. They would not force you to not say something mean online, but they’ll ensure that you think before you speak – or rather, post. Surprisingly, when put into use, these technologies have been found to be effective about 93% of the time – a significant figure.

It is extremely important to ensure that we as a community try to highlight the dangers of cyberbullying through government-sponsored advertisements (a move that incidentally, our government is lacking), and help people self-censor, but sometimes, you just need to fight trolls with troll behaviour

One example of the same was the Zero Tolerance campaign by activist group The Peng Collective. Here, Twitter bots were used to automatically target people whose tweets appeared to be abusive. These users were given a somewhat tongue-in-cheek offer to take part in a ‘self-help programme’ to end their trolling.

Bots have come into public discourse thanks to social media. So the next question that comes up is when AI can do virtually everything, why can it not fight tolls online who indulge in cyberbullying?

The answer to that is surprisingly simple – bots cannot help pick out trolls because humans often don’t agree on what constitutes harassment, therefore it’s really hard to train computers to detect it.

However, utilising community mechanisms on social media can maybe be an effective way to utilise the same technology that is being abused. For examples, a program/bot can be set up that creates a list of users that have been flagged as trolls, in a system like a no-fly list. Yes, the misuse of this option can be an issue, but it’s pros greatly outweigh the cons.

In 2015, a system that uses Twitter bots were created to do the activist work of recruiting humans to do social good for their community called Botivist.

Botivist was an experiment to find out whether bots could recruit and make people contribute ideas about tackling corruption instead of just complaining about corruption.

When it noticed relevant tweets, Botivist would tweet in reply, asking questions like “How do we fight corruption in our cities?” and “What should we change personally to fight corruption?” Then it waited to see if the people replied, and what they said. Of those who engaged, Botivist asked follow-up questions and asked them to volunteer to help fight the problem they were complaining about. Mechanisms as such can be experimented with and put into action to counter cyberbullying too.

Another important aspect that we need to keep in mind is to understand that in most cases, an explicit plea for help is more likely to have people use the feature. Currently, Facebook and Instagram have pre-set options for people to complain. However, these may not satisfy someone who wanted to complain as they feel that the option does not bring out the incident clearly.

I’ll give you an example: I wished to report a page on Instagram that was posting lewd comments about actresses and encouraging other users to do the same. Sadly, I could not tell Instagram the exact reason as to why I wished to report the account – and thus, the page still runs. Now, the next time I’d like to report an account, chances are, that since I cannot tell Facebook/Instagram/Twitter the exact reason why I wish the account to be blocked, I’ll simply let the account no. Nothing happened the last time, so why waste the effort?

It’s time we as a community, come together to brainstorm and try to figure out a way that helps make the internet a safer space. Crusaders have huge amounts of data, but very little that makes sense. Activists have a vision, but not enough solutions. People have the concern, but not enough motivation.

Only when the common man tries to come to a conclusion together, can they unite and make the internet, no space for hate.

You must be to comment.

More from Yashasvini Mathur

Similar Posts

By Arun Chandra

By Arun Chandra

By Arun Chandra

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below