UN launches 'bodyright' symbol against online violence

The symbol seeks to highlight that corporate logos and copyrighted intellectual property often receive greater protection online than people. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - The United Nations on Thursday (Dec 2) launched a campaign against gender-based violence on the Internet - complete with the symbol ⓑ, which can be added to social media posts.

The symbol seeks to highlight that corporate logos and copyrighted intellectual property often receive greater protection online than people.

UN population agency UNFPA's "bodyright" campaign said women, young people, ethnic minorities and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community had to be protected against online violence.

"Everyone has the right to live free of fear and violence - both online and offline," UNFPA executive director Natalia Kanem said. "It's time for technology companies and policymakers to take digital violence seriously."

Eighty five per cent of women globally have experienced or witnessed digital violence against other women, according to a poll by the Economist Intelligence Unit, and 38 per cent have suffered it themselves.

UNFPA said online violence included cyber stalking, hate speech, doxxing - publishing private information about an individual - and non-consensual use of images and video such as deepfakes.

It said the symbol was a demand that "images of our bodies are given the same respect and protection online as copyright gives to music, film and even corporate logos".

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