Facebook, Google and Twitter are working with womens groups to challenge hate speech but critics attack secrecy over scale of problem
Top tech companies are talking to grassroots organisations across the globe to organise a fightback on their platforms against online abuse, hate speech, misogyny and stalking.
Facebook, Twitter and Google are reaching out to womens groups, NGOs and communities in Africa, America, India, Europe and the Middle East as the scale of abuse online continues to increase.
But their attempts to foster a counter-speech movement to challenge the violent misogyny, racism, threats, intimidation and abuse that flood social media platforms have prompted some of the communities they are trying to empower to question whether they are ducking their own responsibilities.
Sarah Green, of the End Violence against Women coalition, said: Any moves by social media companies to support, encourage and empower individuals and groups to resist and counter abuse is very welcome.
But we cant say thats the whole answer we wouldnt say that harassment and assault of women in the street should simply be dealt with by victims fighting back. We need to keep reviewing whether there is an adequate legal and policing response, and whether social media companies are doing enough through their own policies and practices towards perpetrators of abuse as well as victims.
The news comes as the Guardian launches a major new series called the Web We Want on the darker side of online comments and efforts to foster better conversations online. It will include experiences from around the world and research on the Guardians own below the line comment threads.
Facebooks US-based head of global safety, Antigone Davis, has recently overseen a series of global round-table discussions with womens groups in India, Africa, Europe and the Middle East involving more than 120 organisations and activists.