Within days – which seem like minutes now – due to the pandemic last year, all the institutions across the world shifted to virtual remote platforms to ensure the physical safety of all. The internet came to our rescue, quickly and efficiently.
But these platforms have also become a dark place for many. For that, tech companies all over have attempted to ensure their safety.
Google is one of those companies.
The tech giant has rolled out a new feature where one can report abuse that may occur during meetings.
This feature allows a person to record instances of abuse that occur on the platform and file a report by sending them the recorded clip. Once that is done, specialists on the company’s end also go through the chat box in the meeting link to identify the harasser and the nature of the abuse.
If the report meets with their definition of abuse, appropriate action WOULD BEtaken.
The internet allows people to remain anonymous, and while this can be a boon for some, a lot of abuse stems from this aspect of the internet.
Google writes, “As part of our commitment to keep meetings safe, you have the ability to report abuse from within Google Meet. You can report any participant who violates our Acceptable Usage Policy. Once we receive your report, we’ll investigate it and take the appropriate action. We’ll get back to you only if we require additional details or have more information to share.”
A few things that fall under the Acceptable Usage Policy which, if violated, will lead to strict actions by the authorities are: indulging in content that abuses and exploits children, engaging and inciting hate, sharing personal and confidential information without authorisation, distributing and sharing sexually explicit content, engaging in and inciting harassment of all kinds, sharing violent content, etc. The list covers a wide array of topics that pertain to almost all kinds of harm a user might face.
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What Does Google Meet’s New Feature Mean For Women?
Protecting people from harassment on digital platforms is becoming an urgent matter. While Google’s attempts may not nip abuse in the bud with this feature, it will instil more fear in the minds of abusers.
Google Meet’s new feature is a helpful tool for women who can report instances of abuse in a world that shows much distrust towards those who come out with stories of abuse and harassment.
Recording the incident instantly leaves very little room for a he-said-she-said narrative that dominates conversations around movements like #MeToo.
However, is it really empowering to know that while we cannot stop abuse from taking place, we can make sure that it gets reported?
Yes, there are changes, and small changes are better than none. But, while acknowledging such efforts, we must think critically about the fact that we still need these measures to be safe. One can now report the abuse. But what about the trauma of enduring the abuse before reporting it?
From cyber-bullying by teachers and peers to colleagues and employers, the number of cyber harassment cases has increased dramatically. Almost everyone is isolated and physically distanced from friends and family. This not only increases the demand for virtual presence but also impacts people’s mental and emotional health. There’s solace in connecting with people online, but it’s not without its share of risks.
This move is absolutely welcome, but we must not stop at finding ways to make spaces for women safe. We must strive to make spaces for women free of violence entirely.
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