An organized, large-scale, threatening and highly virulent attack
against Take Back the Tech, an international initiative now sponsored by the Association for Progressive Communications, has been ongoing for a week. It is being carried on by people self-associated with the tag #Gamergate -- the "gamer" community has long been one of the primary sources of virulent, violent women-bashing on the Internet.
The attackers claim that the TBT campaign, and other initiatives going on internationally, are an attempt to control Internet content and destroy free speech on the Internet. Such claims, frequently used to defend hate speech, are false. APC has never proposed censorship and Take Back the Tech certainly doesn't advocate it.
May First/People Link, as part of APC and supporters of the Take Back the Tech campaign, denounce this disgusting, reactionary bullying effort and see it as part of the ongoing attack on the reproductive rights movement.
The Association for Progressive Communications is the principle
international network of progressive Internet providers, organizations and activists. It carries on many campaigns and activities aimed at the realization of its primary goal: "All people have easy and affordable access to a free and open internet to improve their lives and create a more just world." May First/People Link is the U.S. East Coast representative organization in APC.
According to APC:
"Since Friday, 9 October 2015, a mounting online attack has been launched against the Twitter hashtag #TakeBacktheTech and associated initiatives.
"The attack against APC and Take Back the Tech and efforts to hijack the #takebackthetech hashtag, which has involved people who self-associate with #Gamergate posting threats targeting members of our community and images that depict women being subjected to physical and sexual violence, illustrate how women’s and girls’ voices are silenced on social networking platforms by violent and sexist expression.
"The scale of this attack thus far has involved more than 20,000 tweets and memes containing anti-feminist, racist, violent and abusive content, which has also been targeted at those who expressed support for #TakeBacktheTech. Emails that included threatening content have also been sent to individuals associated with organising the initial Twitter conversation that launched the attack. It bears repeating that the attacks are coordinated, planned and organised, and this demonstrates the importance of continuing, collaborative efforts to address this issue.
"Take Back the Tech! was launched in 2006 by a group of young women in Southeast Asia in response to an increasing recognition that emerging ICT developments like mobile phones and geolocation software were used to extend the violence that women faced in physical spaces through SMS harassment and cyber stalking by abusive partners. See here for full research on case studies in seven countries.
"Echoing the Take Back the Night campaigns by women’s movements in different parts of the world, the campaign saw the importance of reclaiming the transformative potential of digital spaces for the exercise of women’s human rights, including the right to freedom of expression, public participation and safety. The campaign was initiated by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) Women’s Rights Programme, and has been taken up, adapted and owned by individuals, organisations and collectives in places such as Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Colombia, theDemocratic Republic of Congo, Germany, India, Kenya,Macedonia, Malaysia, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, the United Kingdom, the United States and Uruguay. The campaign is linked to the longstanding 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence global campaign.
"Take Back the Tech and APC have never supported censorship; to the contrary, we have explicitly explored means of addressing online hate speech in general, and misogynist content in particular, without resorting to censorship. Claims to this effect in the recent efforts to hijack the #takebackthetech hashtag are simply not accurate. APC’s Internet Rights Charter, a document which interprets how fundamental human rights apply on the internet, was released in 2001."
-- 30 --
For more information contact:
Alfredo Lopez -- firstname.lastname@example.org