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#Freetobeonline

Sign the open letter today!

An Open Letter to Social Media Companies

Dear Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Twitter,

We represent the 14,000 girls from 22 countries who spoke to Plan International about online abuse. We are urgently asking you to work with us to end online harassment on your platforms.

We love your platforms, they’re a huge part of our daily lives. We use them not just to connect with friends, but to lead and create change. But they are not safe for us. We get harassed and abused on them. Every. Single. Day.

We are physically threatened, racially abused, sexually harassed and body shamed. Online violence is serious. It causes real harm and it’s silencing our voices.

As this global pandemic moves our lives online, we are more at risk than ever.

Did you know that 50% of us face more online harassment than street harassment? And 42% of us lose self-esteem or confidence as a result of it?

Online violence shapes our identity while telling us what’s wrong with our identity: Of the girls who’ve been harassed, 37% from an ethnic minority said they get harassed because of their ethnicity or race. And 56% of the girls who are LGBTIQ+ and have experienced harassment, said that they get harassed because of it.

We are told ‘if we can’t handle the harassment, we shouldn’t be on social media’. That’s messed up. We shouldn’t have to cope and shrink ourselves in an unfair system. The world needs to stop normalising online violence.

We know that many of you are taking steps to make your platforms safer – that’s awesome, thank you!

But right now, it’s not enough.

Girls, in all our diversity, need to know that when we’re abused and threatened online, we can report it and you’ll take action.

Our practical solution? Be our allies! Speak to us! Listen to our experiences! Work with us to create stronger reporting mechanisms for violence that meet girls’ needs and hold perpetrators to account.

The time to act is now so girls are #FreeToBeOnline.

We’ll be waiting for your call…

Yours sincerely,

Zahra, 17, Finland
Madjidath, 20, Benin
Yande, 16, Zambia
Neha, 18, Nepal
Deisy, 18, Colombia
Sessi, 22, Benin

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