ENCOURAGE USERS TO SPEAK FREELY

Promote diverse speech and speakers.

If your product or service allows users to interact with each other, it is in your best interest to encourage user expression. The more freedom your users have to express themselves freely, the more likely they are to interact deeply with your service, with lasting benefits to everyone involved.

ALLOW USERS TO ACCESS THE CONTENT THEY CHOOSE
Your users expect to be able to access the content they want. If they can’t do so and don’t understand why, they may express their outrage or simply take their business elsewhere. You can avoid this by making content available as a general rule.
Case Study

Instagram Reverses #Curvy Hashtag Ban After User Uproar

Instagram found itself at the center of a controversy in 2015 when it banned tons of photos and videos associated with the hashtag #curvy.

Instagram found itself at the center of a controversy in 2015 when it banned tons of photos and videos associated with the hashtag #curvy. Although the hashtag had been very popular for posts promoting body positivity and body acceptance, the service banned the term in a misguided attempt to prevent the spread of pornographic images on the site. After alienated and outraged users drew attention to the move with hashtags such as #curvee and #bringcurvyback, Instagram apologized, reversed the hashtag ban, and pledged to be more “thoughtful” in the way it approached user content.

Case Study

Apple Comes Under Fire After Siri Refuses to Provide Abortion Content

Apple came under fire from users and the press when it was discovered that Siri, the company’s recently-unveiled “intelligent personal assistant,” would not provide information about abortion clinics or emergency contraceptives.

Apple came under fire from users and the press when it was discovered that Siri, the company’s recently-unveiled “intelligent personal assistant,” would not provide information about abortion clinics or emergency contraceptives. Siri replied to some inquiries about abortion by saying it couldn’t find any abortion clinics even if there were multiple hospitals or Planned Parenthood health centers nearby, and to others by directing users to anti-abortion centers. The story first received significant attention in 2011 after it was covered by the New York Times, forcing Apple to promise a fix to the “glitch” and attempt to reassure users that the omissions were “not intentional.” The controversy didn't go away - in 2016, Apple recieved another wave of bad press after a researcher asserted Siri was still providing incomplete results.

ALLOW USERS TO CONTROL THEIR RELATIONSHIPS AND INTERACTIONS WITH OTHERS
By allowing users to tailor your service to their needs, you help them create an experience that maximizes their enjoyment of your service. Offering tools that enable users to manage the people they interact with can help nurture positive connections and reduce the effects of harmful behavior. Instead of diverting resources on moderators or complicated algorithms, empower users to make their own decisions.
Case Study

League of Legends Praised for Re-Engineering Chat to Reduce Harassment

The developer behind the massively popular online multi-player game League of Legends reduced negative user interactions and received public praise after making simple changes to its chat system.

Facing a problem of “toxic” and abusive behavior, developer Riot Games came to a simple solution: make the chat feature opt-in for users. According to Riot, a week after the change was made “negative chat saw a decrease by 32.7 percent [and] positive chat went up, by 34.5 percent.” Riot was praised for effectively addressing its problems by “creating a simple hurdle to abusive behavior.”

Case Study

Twitter’s Improved Blocking Tools a Welcome Improvement

In 2014, Twitter was applauded for adding more “civility” to the site when it rolled out a host of tools to empower users themselves to combat hara

In 2014, Twitter was applauded for adding more “civility” to the site when it rolled out a host of tools to empower users themselves to combat harassment. In particular, Twitter improved its blocking feature, making it easier to use and more powerful so that a blocked user could no longer view the blocker’s profile. After previously coming under fire for its handling of online threats, observers called this a move “in the right direction.”

ALLOW USERS TO USE THIRD-PARTY SOFTWARE
Users consistently express outrage when ISPs, platforms, and similar services interfere with their ability to use third-party software that does not disrupt the functioning of the service. You can avoid controversy and demonstrate your support for your users by giving them the freedom to safely communicate using whatever application or tool they choose.
Case Study

Facebook Hailed for Launch of Tor Portal

Facebook was applauded for enhancing user security when it launched its own “Tor hidden service” providing privacy- and security-conscious users an alternative way to reach its service. Facebook connected users running Tor software to a version of the site with extra safeguards for protecting users’ identities and their activity on site.

Facebook was applauded for enhancing user security when it launched its own “Tor hidden service” providing privacy- and security-conscious users an alternative way to reach its service. Facebook connected users running Tor software to a version of the site with extra safeguards for protecting users’ identities and their activity on site. Academics and the press embraced the new offering as a “first-of-its-kind” innovation and an “unalloyed good.”

Case Study

AT&T Accused of “Holding FaceTime Hostage”

AT&T triggered consumer and media outrage when it announced that it would only allow iPhone users to use the video chat app FaceTime on the carrier’s cellular data network if the customers purchased a shared data plan.

AT&T eventually changed its policy, but only after the company was subjected to a barrage of negative press and customer complaints, with the media accusing the company of “holding FaceTime hostage,” “slapping consumers in [the] face over FaceTime,” and carrying out “simple extortion.

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