CLBR #248: Craig Newmark Takes on Online Harassment

Craig Newmark
Takes on Online Harassment

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Since 2011,  Craig Newmark has been working though craigconnects to unite the world for the common good using the Internet. It seeks to identify, connect, and promote organizations that are making that vision happen.  This includes the organizations and interests highlighted below.  For example, Newmark is the benefactor behind the Craig Newmark Memorial Latrine at Wikipedia.

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In October, Newmark released a comprehensive survey of adult Americans showing that bullying, harassment, and threatening behavior on social networks has remained roughly the same over two years (22% in 2016 compared to 25% in 2014) despite efforts by social media companies to curb harassment.

Last month, Newmark funded a new Wikipedia initiative to fight online harassment.

To ensure Wikipedia’s vitality, people of good will need to work together to prevent trolling, harassment and cyber-bullying from interfering with the common good.   To that end, I’m supporting the work of the Wikimedia Foundation towards the prevention of harassment.

The money donated will support the launch of a community health initiative to address harassment and toxic behavior on Wikipedia through the development of tools for volunteer editors and staff to reduce harassment and block harassers.

This initiative addresses the major forms of harassment reported on the Wikimedia Foundation’s 2015 Harassment Survey, which covers a wide range of different behaviors, including: content vandalism; stalking; name-calling; trolling; doxxing; discrimination; and really, anything that targets individuals for unfair and harmful attention.

From research and community feedback, 4 areas have been identified where new tools could be beneficial in addressing and responding to harassment:

– Detection and prevention – making it easier and faster for editors to identify and flag harassing behavior.

– Reporting – providing victims and respondents of harassment improved ways to report instances that offer a clearer, more streamlined approach.

– Evaluating – supporting tools that help volunteers better evaluate harassing behavior and inform the best way to respond.

– Blocking – making it more difficult for someone who is blocked from the site to return.

This is really serious, and you can read more on the initiative here. How have you contributed to Wikipedia? And, will you be more inclined now that there will be more measures to prevent and address online harassment?

Resources on Wikipedia Harassment

demonstrativevisualizationofpersonalattacksonwikipedia1

Collection of 13,500 Nastygrams Could Advance War on Trolls, MIT Technology Review

How one young female scientist decided to cope with online harassment, Washington Post

The new alchemy: turning online harassment into Wikipedia articles on women scientists,  Wikimedia Foundation

Wikipedia’s Hostility to Women, The Atlantic


cn-11-craig-newmark-photo-credit-bleacher-beverardAbout Craig Newmark

  • craigconnects.org
  • @craignewmark
  • Craigslist founder (1995)
  • Internet Hall of Fame (2012)
  • “Nerd-in-Residence” by Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation in recognition of his volunteer work with the department to enhance services to veterans and military families (2013)

Craig has not been part of craigslist management since 2000, but stays connected to the site’s users through his involvement with Customer Service.

In 2016 he created the Craig Newmark Foundation, a private foundation to promote philanthropy and civic engagement through a number of initiatives. The foundation supports charitable and education causes with a focus on consumer ‎protection and ‎education, veterans and military families, government transparency, public ‎diplomacy, voter ‎protection and education, micro-lending to alleviate poverty, and women in ‎technology.‎

Craig serves on the board of directors of the Poynter Foundation, Center for Public Integrity, Sunlight Foundation, Consumers Union/Consumer Reports, Blue Star Families, VetsInTech, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. He also serves on the Board of Overseers of the Columbia Journalism Review and as an advisor to nearly twenty other renowned non-profit organizations (see the full list at craigconnects.org/organizations).

Born in Morristown, New Jersey in 1952, Craig received his bachelor and master’s degrees in computer science from Case Western Reserve University. He lives in San Francisco and enjoys bird-watching, squirrel-watching, science fiction, and TV.

Craig communicates regularly through his own blog on craigconnects.org and through the Huffington Post, Facebook, LinkedIn, Medium, and Twitter. He also travels the country speaking about issues and appearing on behalf of organizations he supports.


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