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Emma Watson And Thandiwe Newton Lead Campaign To End Online Abuse

More than 200 people have signed an open letter

Names such as Emma Watson, Thandiwe Newton, ex-tennis player Billie Jean King and former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard have signed an open letter asking for action against the internet trolling of women.

The letter, which has been published at the UN Generation Equality Forum, asked the chief executives of Facebook, Google, TikTok, and Twitter, to “urgently prioritize the safety of women on your platforms,” reports the BBC.

“As prime minister of Australia, like other women in the public domain, I regularly received highly gendered and ugly social media, including the circulation of pornographic cartoons,” explained Gillard, adding that she feels “angry and frustrated that women still face this kind of abuse”.

Despite companies committing to improving systems and filtering what their users see, some campaigners are concerned it’s not enough.

The letter reads: “The internet is the town square of the 21st Century. It is where debate takes place, communities are built, products are sold and reputations are made.

“But the scale of online abuse means that, for too many women, these digital town squares are unsafe. This is a threat to progress on gender equality.”

It highlighted a 2020 study, which found that 38 percent of more than 4,000 women in 51 different countries had experienced direct online intimidation, emphasizing worse abuse for marginalized groups and Black, Asian, Latin American, and mixed-race women.

Azmina Dhrodia, senior policy manager at the World Wide Web Foundation, who organized the letter, said: “It is really important that we recognize that abuse and harassment against women on social media platforms are widespread and that it is one of the biggest barriers to gender equality.”


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Emma Watson Backs Startup Aiming To Revolutionize Plastic

Plastic: Next to the burning of fossil fuels, it represents one of the greatest environmental threats facing the planet.

Researchers estimate that since 1950, more than 8.3 billion metric tons of the stuff has been produced, more than one ton for every person currently on the planet. Once used, much of it is burned. The rest winds up in landfills or in the ocean, where it can take up to five centuries to fully decompose. In the meantime, it poses a threat to wildlife and, through potentially carcinogenic microplastics that enter the food chain, us too.

London-based startup FabricNano is targeting this scourge with a new kind of manufacturing that harnesses the chemical laboratories that exist inside the cells of living organisms, but it does so without the need to actually use living things. Its first product is a precursor for the creation of biodegradable polyester, which FabricNano’s founders think they can produce at a price that will make it competitive with the petroleum-based plastics that are used in everything from water bottles to fast-food trays.

Among those inspired by that vision are actress Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame, Twitter cofounder Biz Stone, and Alexander Moscho, the former chief executive of Bayer. They are part of a $12.5 million investment round in FabricNano, led by London-based venture capital firm Atomico, announced today.

Watson, who played Hermione in the Harry Potter franchise, became a seed investor in FabricNano after being approached by the company on the advice of Atomico and Tania Boler, the founder of Elvie, a startup that makes innovative technology for women, including a breast pump. Boler is also a seed investor in FabricNano. She formerly had roles in several development organizations and at the United Nations cultural organization Unesco. Watson is currently the United Nations Women Goodwill Ambassador and is interested in environmental causes.