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Women politicians embrace tool to deal with online trolls this election

Kenyan women parliamentarians to tame online trolls during 2022 General Election, starting with social media platform Twitter

Kiambu Woman Representative and KEWOPA Chairlady Gathoni Wamuchomba

The Kenya Women Parliamentary Association (KEWOPA) on Tuesday officially unveiled their YouTube channel following a training workshop on online safety and security, held in collaboration with Google Africa and the #IamRemarkable initiative.

The Google-KEWOPA partnership will see women politicians equipped with online safety tools and skills that will help them mitigate the impact of online trolls and cyber-bullying.

This will include exclusive training to the media managers working with the 93 women parliamentarians ahead of the elections.

The female politicians will use Google’s free tool, Harassment Manager, which allows people more vulnerable to online attacks, such as journalists and women leaders, to document and manage online abuse targeted at them on social media, starting with Twitter.

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The tool, Harassment Manager, reviews tweets based on hashtag, username, keyword or date enabling users to detect toxic and harmful comments and mute or block perpetrators of harassment, and hide harassing replies to their own tweets.

“Google cares deeply about gender equity and diversity. Through our collaboration with the Kenya Women Parliamentary Association, we are able to make programs such as #IamRemarkable and Digital Skills for Women contribute to restoring the gender gap in social and economic opportunity,” Google Eastern Africa Country Director Agnes Gathaiya stated during the Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Google/KEWOPA Training workshop.

The training, delivered through the #IamRemarkable program, is also aimed at combating gender-based violence and empowering women to overcome social and cultural barriers and speak openly about their accomplishments.

KEWOPA Chairperson, Gathoni Wamuchomba, welcomed the training and said: “violence against women is a serious problem and women leaders disproportionately deal with online toxicity. KEWOPA is collaborating with Google in the use of technology and training to empower women legislators against online violence.“

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During the training session, the women parliamentarians were given seven tips to ensure safety and security online.

  1. Google yourself, find out what is in the cyberspace about you
  2. Audit your social media accounts, find out what information you have shared and remove any information you may be uncomfortable being in the public
  3. Document abuse against you, take screenshots for purpose of the legal redress
  4. Review your location settings, disable it to avoid having your data used maliciously
  5. Self-care and mental health checks
  6. Strong passwords and two-step verification. Have passwords with more than 12 characters, and use specific passwords for different accounts don't use the same one for every channel. Utilize the Google password manager to keep track of your different passwords
  7. Delete applications (Apps) that you don't use, they collect your data

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