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1 in 4 women have witnessed negative comments about their physical appearance online: Study

Updated on: 30 June,2022 09:46 PM IST  |  New Delhi

The research also found that 48 percent of people say that facing online hate and bullying has made it hard for them to trust other people

1 in 4 women have witnessed negative comments about their physical appearance online: Study

Image for representational purpose only. Photo: istock

With the digital world progressing at a faster rate than ever before, almost every single person depends on interacting with people only. Unfortunately, their conversations may not always be a good experience, especially when they are with unknown people.  

Bumble, the social networking app for women, has launched the second edition of its 'Stand for Safety' campaign after the successful launch of its first edition last year. The campaign is part of the app's ongoing global effort to create a safer, friendlier and more respectful internet.

In response to growing digital security concerns in India, this year the app is collaborating with the Center for Social Research (CSR), a non-profit organisation dedicated to building a non-violent and inclusive society in India, to publish a one-of-a-kind safety manual to raise awareness of digital safety and empower the community to recognise and address online hate, bullying and discrimination.

The handbook, produced in partnership with Nyaaya, an independent open-access digital resource, provides simple, actionable information to educate people about their legal rights and how to exercise them when faced with hate and discrimination in line.

"We are delighted to partner with the Centre for Social Research and Nyaaya to create this one-of-a-kind safety handbook to support our community and equip them with crucial information to recognise and combat online abuse, discrimination and harassment. Bumble is built on the core values of kindness, respect, inclusivity and equality, and safety has been central to Bumble's mission from day one. Our 'Stand for Safety' initiative further demonstrates our deeper commitment to creating a world where all relationships are healthy and equitable," commented Mahima Kaul, head of Public Policy APAC at Bumble.

The app's recent nationwide study revealed how online harassment is affecting people across the country. Some of the most notable findings include:

1 in 2 (50 percent) people have encountered hateful content online and 1 in 4 women have witnessed negative comments about their physical appearance and abuse against women at least once a week.

40 percent of people surveyed say that they have faced online hate-driven speech and bullying with regards to discrimination against a particular group or community and their physical appearance.

More than half (52 percent) of people surveyed said they have felt angry after facing online hate and bullying.

48 percent of people say that facing online hate and bullying has made it hard for them to trust other people. Out of this, more than half respondents surveyed were women.

Jyoti Vadehra, head, Media and Communications at Centre for Social Research, commented, "Equal, equitable and inclusive online spaces can become a reality when we all work together. We are happy to have partnered with Bumble in India in their efforts to make the Internet a safer and kinder space especially for women and other marginalised communities. Creation of Bumble's Safety Handbook is a vital step in the right direction, and the purpose is to give agency to the users, and to empower them with the right tools to fortify their well-being, while navigating the online space."

Recognising India's socio-cultural and multilingual diversity, the app will strive to update its policies by adding more stop words in several Indian regional languages to continue its commitment to promoting a safe and inclusive online space.

Bumble also offers a full suite of product features with an emphasis on security. The app allows users to block and report anyone who violates our Community Guidelines. People can easily access the Safety + Wellbeing Center resource hub in the app built to help our community have a safe and healthy dating experience. As a geographically specific feature of the Bumble community in India, a woman can choose to use only the initial of her name to create her Bumble Date profile and can share her full name with contacts when she is there, ready and at her, she is comfortable.

In 2019, the company introduced Private Detector, a feature that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to automatically detect and blur unsolicited nude images. The feature then alerts the recipient who can choose to view, delete, or report the image.

The app also updated its terms and conditions to explicitly ban any unsolicited and derogatory comments made about someone's appearance, body shape, size or health, and became one of the first social networking apps to ban body shaming.

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