July 17, 2023

Black Women Twice As Likely To Be Cyber-Flashed, Finds Report

Black women cyber flash

A new study by Communia has revealed that Black women are twice as likely to experience cyber-flashing as white women.

Cyber-flashing is the act of sending obscene pictures to people online without their consent, usually through messaging or social media apps.

In addition to feeling upset and unsafe, victims of cyberflashing report longer-term impacts on their mental well-being.

The extent of Cyber-flashing

Over 2,000 women and marginalized genders in the U.K. who use social media were surveyed to find out their experiences online.

The reportThe exposé on women’s and marginalized genders’ social media experiences, found that 50% of the Black women in the survey have been cyber-flashed, compared to 26% of White women.

The study also found that 45% of women of color feel unsafe online due to cyber flashing. Facebook emerged as the leading social media platform for Black women feeling unsafe, with 38% of Black respondents claiming to feel most unsafe when on the site.

Protecting women of color online

The study was commissioned by Communia, an app dedicated to women and marginalized genders, prioritizing well-being and social health.

Founder of Communia Olivia DeRamus said in a report by 21Ninety, “This report reflects how women of color also face systemic racism digitally, hyper-sexualization, increased risk of abuse.”

“This survey should encourage big tech companies, the U.K. government, and consumers themselves to take important steps to improve the digital world and make it safe from predatory behavior, hate speech, trolling, and other forms of abuse,” said DeRamus.

In a previous study by Amnesty International, Black women were 84% more likely to be abused on social media than white women.

What can be done?

Women’s rights activist Seyi Akiowowo, founder of Glitch, a non-profit company that campaigns to end online abuse, previously said Black women’s concerns about online safety had been ignored for years.

Experts have cited that social education on the matter, rather than simply enacting criminalizing laws, will likely be the best way to curb the issue.

Some states, including California, Texas, and Virginia, have already pushed to criminalize cyber-flashing in the U.S., but there are no federal laws that prohibit cyber-flashing. In the UK, cyber-flashing is a criminal offence.

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.