The government has decided to evolve a mechanism to rein in online abusers as part of a broader plan to crack down on web offenders after a torrent of complaints from women who were stalked, bullied or trolled on social media.
Union women and child development minister Maneka Gandhi is meeting senior officials from the home ministry, Delhi Police and representatives from Twitter and Facebook on Friday to discuss ways to tackle online abuse and chalk out a strategy to deal with complaints.
The meeting comes two days after the minister asked women who have been at the receiving end of online abuse to complaint to her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We recognize that it is a growing problem and we need to put in place an effective mechanism to check the menace,” said a senior women and child development ministry official.
On Wednesday, the ministry introduced the #IamTrolledHelp where women facing abuse online can complain and write about their experience. Since it was launched, the hashtag became one of Twitter’s top trends.
The ministry is also planning to set up a cyber cell and designate a joint secretary rank officer to run it. “The cell will go through complaints of online abuse and take necessary action,” added the official.
On Tuesday, Gandhi’s ministry started an online complaint system where any women who is being harassed online can write directly to the minister and inform her. “Are you a woman who is trolled or abused? Inform me at email@example.com,” she had tweeted.
A 2014 survey by American think tank Pew Research Centre found young women between 18 and 24 experience severe types of harassment online. Of the 2,849 web users surveyed, 26 % women in the 18-24 age group have been stalked online while 25 % faced online sexual harassment, the study found.