"Nothing they can do will stop me."

Rana Ayyub is defiant.

A woman casts a shadow on a wall as she checks her phone. Online abuse of women and girls has made the internet a no go zone for some. © AFP/FABRICE COFFRINI“Nothing they can do will stop me from writing and doing what I am doing,” she said.

Ayyub is an independent journalist and writer from India, whose work has included investigations into alleged crimes committed by public officials. In April, she was subjected to an online hate campaign after a social media posts falsely quoted her as supporting child rapists and saying that Muslims were no longer safe in India.

After the Tweets, she was subjected to a virulent online hate campaign that included terrifying messages that called for her to be gang-raped and murdered and dehumanized her Muslim faith. The messages kept coming, even when she pointed out that the Tweet was false.

A group of United Nations human rights experts later called on the Indian government to act to protect Ayyub.

Her experience, and the lack of protection from her government and social media companies, led Ayyub to call for stronger regulation on online platforms and how they manage hate speech directed at women.

“I think Twitter, Facebook and others need to take more responsibility,” she said. “It is not just trolling, it is not just the abuse; it is this culture of fake news that leads to this kind of abuse against us. I don’t think these social media platforms or the government are serious enough to tackle this.”

Ayyub was interviewed by the UN Human Rights Office, where she spoke about how online misogyny has been weaponized and what it takes to stand up against online hate speech.

 27 July 2018

Watch Ayyub discuss online abuse and what we can do about in the video below.

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