Lady Gaga’s mom urges tech community to fight online harassment

Online harassment is no good. Unfortunately, 40 percent of all people on the internet report experiencing some form of harassment online and 70 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 24 have been targeted, according to Pew Research Center.

“A young person who was being bullied a few generations ago could escape the abuse by going home,” Cynthia Germanotta, Lady Gaga’s mom and president of Born This Way Foundation, said in a release. “But today that harassment can follow them anywhere. Every computer, tablet, and smartphone can be used as a tool of cruelty and hate. That’s simply unacceptable and at Hack Harassment we believe we can and must do better.”

At the Recode conference today, Germanotta announced the Hack Harassment pledge, which has already been signed by Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, Vox Media CEO and Chairman Jim Bankoff and Recode Executive Editor and co-founder Kara Swisher. Taking the Hack Harassment pledge means that you’ll speak up when you see online harassment and support those who are being harassed.

Here’s the pledge:

Online harassment has become a pervasive and often vicious problem with real-life repercussions. It has significant negative consequences for the well-being and safety of individuals and for the success of digital communities. Everyone — regardless of their identity, background, or beliefs — is entitled to an online world where they are treated with respect and are free from harassment.

In order to build a safer, smarter, and more inclusive experience online, I will recognize when harassment is occurring, responsibly speak up against it, and support those experiencing it by:

  • Abiding by and upholding the same standards and values online that are expected offline and accepting that my online behavior has real-life consequences
  • Valuing and supporting diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and opinions
  • Actively participating in the movement to decrease the prevalence and intensity of online harassment

Hack Harassment was first announced in January to combat online harassment. You can sign the pledge here.