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Twitter calls on a women's advocacy group to collect data on harassment

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Twitter has partnered with an advocacy group called Women, Action, and the Media (WAM!) to investigate reports of abuse on the service. The move comes after a string of high-profile attacks against women, including those against Zelda Williams, feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian and game developer Brianna Wu.

The immediate outcome of the partnership is an online form where Twitter users can report gender-based harassment. Data will be used to "track Twitter's responses to different kinds of gendered harassment."

As a pilot program, the next steps will be for WAM! to analyze the findings and offer suggestions to Twitter on "how gendered harassment intersects with other types of harassment, how those attacks function on their platform, and to improve Twitter's responses to it."

Twitter users currently have access to a reporting function within the application that escalates incidents of harassment up the chain within Twitter support. This can lead to suspension of accounts, but more often than not merely points users to tips on avoiding online bullying.

WAM!'s full press release goes on to say that the pilot program "will help identify the types of gendered harassment Twitter already handles well, and in which specific areas new solutions need to be developed."