The UNFPA, the UN’s agency dedicated to advancing sexual and reproductive rights and ending gender-based violence is asking women to use its new “bodyright” symbol, which it describes as a new “copyright for human bodies”, when posting pictures of themselves on social media.
The campaign hopes to highlight the contrast between the protection afforded to copyrighted intellectual property and the protection of women, ethnic minorities and members of the LGBTQ+ community from online violence.
“Relentless, borderless, and often anonymous – the online world is the new frontier for gender-based violence,” UNFPA executive director Dr Natalia Kanem said.
“It’s time for technology companies and policymakers to take digital violence seriously.
“Right now, corporate logos and copyrighted IP receive greater protection online than we do as human beings.”
Examples of digital violence include the sharing of intimate images, known as revenge porn, and deep fakes – manipulating images using artificial intelligence.
According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, 85 per cent of women across the world have experienced or witnessed digital violence against other women, while 38 per cent have experienced it personally.
Additionally, 66 per cent of women have experienced cyber-harassment and 57 per cent have experienced video and image-based abuse.
The effects of online violence are widespread. Nine out of 10 women said it had harmed their well-being, and a third said they suffered from mental health issues as a result.
Alongside the campaign, the UNFPA is asking people to sign a petition calling on policymakers and social media companies to introduce greater protections.
“We appeal to policymakers to adopt, amend and implement clear legislation to criminalise the non-consensual use, misuse, or abuse of people’s images online and create a legal obligation for technology companies and social media platforms to put effective moderation and reporting systems in place,” the petition reads.
It asked social media platforms to scale up moderation of content and take immediate action against abusive images.
“Reporting processes and tools for users must be accessible, easy to use and responsive,” it added.
You can sign the petition here.
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies