New Women’s Social Networking Site Creating A Troll-Free Environment


We live in a digital age where cyber-bullying, online harassment and trolling are just part and parcel of any social media networks. This has become abundantly clear with issues such as #gamergate, #yesallwomen and even the nude photos of many female celebrities being leaked onto websit 4Chan. Unfortunately most social networking site, while they have strict guidelines about pornographic content and messages about eating disorders, have yet to implement a system which tracks and blocks online trolls and cyber bullies.

We recently reported how Women Action Media have teamed up with Twitter to find ways to make the site a safer place for women, who seem to be disproportionately affected by online harassment. But perhaps it is time for a new social networking experience altogether, where not everyone can join, and you have to abide by some pretty strict rules in order to stay.

Doesn’t sound very democratic, but in fact it’s probably the best type of online scenario you could think of. The site is called VProud, it was launched on October 29, and it is aimed at women who want to share about topics unapologetically, unashamedly, and free from trolling most importantly. The definition of a “troll” according to the website is any comments that are nasty, negative, hateful and unproductive.

The video networking site allows women to share about topics, that perhaps you wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing with your Facebook friends (for fear of over-sharing, or worrying what certain people might think). The idea is to cultivate open and honest conversations in an environment which is judgement free. Users have the option of sharing both publicly and privately if they choose.

Every user is authenticated through her public Google, Facebook, or Twitter profile, but has the option to comment under an anonymous handle, toggling back and forth, depending on the conversation.

The videos posted are meant to start the conversations and users can either stay on the website and discuss, or take the conversation onto other social networking.


Thousands of topics are discussed in real time, including parenting, business & careers, education, healthcare, modern feminism, sex how-to, LGTBQ issues, addiction, mental health, fertility, pregnancy, body image, relationships, and more. Nothing is off the table, except for hateful and disrespectful speech

According to an online harassment study released by the Pew Research Center in October 2014, women and young adults were “more likely than others to experience harassment on social media” and, more specifically, women ages 18 to 24 “experience certain severe types of harassment at disproportionately high levels: 26 percent of these young women have been stalked online, and 25 percent were the target of online sexual harassment.”

One of the main reasons it is so hard to catch trolls is because they often use anonymous names and images. They can comfortably hide behind a barrier while making another person’s life a living hell.

Karen Cahn, who is a former Google, YouTube, and AOL Video executive, is the founder of VProud and told ABC news she created the site after feeling isolated when going through a divorce.

“With my Facebook name, I may be comfortable commenting on yoga,” she said. “But I wouldn’t want to discuss more intimate issues in my life and I couldn’t comment freely without the fear of my family or neighbors seeing what I was saying.”


The site has a three-pronged attack to filter out the potential bullies and trolls. They have implemented proprietary technology filters that understand context and evolve as new information is introduced, editors that review conversation threads, and the ability for users to report comments going against community guidelines.

As for people who may say the strict guidelines and female-only environment only serves to segregate, Karen has a very good reason why she set up VProud this way.

“We wanted to provide a safe space for women first based on our own experience, but we have already received multiple phone calls from parents asking when VProud will launch a site for teens,” said Cahn. “And we are open to partnering with other platforms down the road.”

The website being created by women for women is already attracting many women, as it has over 250,00 users in its Beta stage. While there may be people out there who don’t agree with the fact that it isn’t open to everyone, we do live in a society where we are free to create our own spaces and we have the right to do whatever it takes to ensure our safety and that of other people around us.

“With countless examples of events and trends that contribute to an overall feeling of danger for women online, including online harassment, cybersexism, and comment trolling, I wanted to create a protected space for women to connect. VProud empowers women with the ability to talk freely about all types of subjects without having the entire world know all of their specific views. It’s a digital safe space where no topic is off the table, and it’s never been needed more,” said Karen in a press release.

We’re super excited to see where VProud will go because if it is attracting 250,000 users and it is still in a testing stage, we can only imagine that this is the type of social networking site and type of environment women are desperate for.



One Comment

  1. Pingback: United Nations Says We Need To "Wake Up" & Fight Online Harassment Against Women

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