The Task Force is an interagency effort to address online harassment and abuse, specifically focused on technology-facilitated gender-based violence. In consultation with survivors, advocates, educators, experts from diverse fields, and the private sector, the Task Force will develop specific recommendations to improve prevention, response, and protection efforts through programs and policies in the United States and globally by:
– Improving coordination among executive departments, agencies, and offices to maximize the Federal Government’s effectiveness in preventing and addressing technology-facilitated gender-based violence in the United States and globally, including by developing policy solutions to enhance accountability for those who perpetrate online harms;
– Enhancing and expanding data collection and research across the Federal Government to measure the costs, prevalence, exposure to, and impact of technology-facilitated gender-based violence, including by studying the mental health effects of harassment and abuse perpetrated through social media, particularly affecting adolescents;
– Increasing access to survivor-centered services, information, and support for victims, and increasing training and technical assistance for federal, state, tribal, local, and territorial governments, as well as for global organizations and entities in the fields of criminal justice, health and mental health services, education, and victim services;
– Developing programs and policies to address the disproportionate impact of online harassment, abuse, and [gendered] disinformation campaigns targeting women and LGBTQI+ individuals who are public and political figures, government and civic leaders, activists, and journalists in the United States and globally;
– Examining existing Federal laws, regulations, and policies to evaluate the adequacy of the current legal framework to address technology-facilitated gender-based violence and provide recommendations for strengthening it; and
– Identifying additional opportunities to improve efforts to prevent and address technology-facilitated gender-based violence in United States foreign policy and foreign assistance, including through the Global Partnership for Action on Gender-Based Online Harassment and Abuse.FACT SHEET: Presidential Memorandum Establishing the White House Task Force to Address Online Harassment and Abuse
When is speech violence? The answer is never. Speech may be upsetting, but that doesn’t make it violence. Speech may be ugly or hateful, but that doesn’t make it violence. Speech may be associated with deleterious physiological effects or even harm, but that still doesn’t make it violence. Speech may even intimidate or threaten violence. That makes it illegal, but it doesn’t make it violence. Equating speech with violence not only robs us of our understanding of ourselves as competent and civil human beings capable of defeating bad ideas with better ones, it gives us license to use physical violence in response to speech––or even in advance, as “self-defense.” For psychologists to assert that speech is violence is not merely incorrect, it’s harmful.