U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris has announced the formation of the White House Task Force to Address Online Harassment and Abuse.
The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and the Director of the White House Gender Policy Council will serve as co-chairs of the task force, with additional members including the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, the U.S. Attorney General, and other federal leaders, according to a White House memorandum.
Harris, who prosecuted the first U.S. case against a cyber exploitation website, detailed the widespread effects of online harassment and abuse.
"One in three women under the age of 35 report being sexually harassed online," said Harris, "Over half of the LGBTQ+ people in our country are survivors of severe harassment. Nearly one in four Asian Americans report being called an offensive name [online], usually motivated by racism.... And Black people who have been harassed online in our country are three times more likely to be targeted, again, because of their race."
Harris also noted the online radicalization of domestic terrorists, including the white supremacist shooter who killed Black patrons of a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, as well as the gunman who targeted students and teachers in Robb Elementary School.
The task force seeks to improve coordination between departments already working at the forefront of this issue, as well as bolster data collection efforts relating to online harassment and abuse; provide support to survivors of online abuse; create anti-disinformation methods to support women and LGBTQ public figures targeted by harassment; among other initiatives.