George Washington University, which received the funding for the program—called Expert Voices Together—described it as “a socio-technical system that provides real-time support to experts experiencing online harassment,” according to the Daily Caller.
The government created the program hoping to provide journalists and other alleged experts an outlet for “monitoring and reporting” purported abuse by strangers on the internet. The system was also designed to provide “personalized assistance with digital safety” and “trauma-informed care.”
The NSF announced their hopes that the program would slow the “rapid spread of misinformation” by instilling confidence in journalists and other so-called experts.
“Harassment undermines confidence in pivotal sources of knowledge and reduces expert participation in the information system,” the abstract from the NSF read.
The Poynter Institute assisted in the initial pilot program, as they “have already identified their staff’s safety and well-being as a key priority.”
High profile journalists such as Taylor Lorenz previously expressed their horror and fear at people’s attacks on social media.
In a Meet the Press interview with Lorenz, she broke down when explaining that online trolling was “horrifying” and invasive.
“You feel like any little piece of information that gets out on you will be used by the worst people on the internet to destroy your life and it’s so isolating,” Lorenz said. She also claimed to have “severe PTSD.”
Not long after, Lorenz doxxed Libs of TikTok, demanded Twitter delete the account and outed Chaya Raichik as the owner of the account. She also went to the homes of Raichik’s family members.
Because of the invasive doxxing, Raichik faced threats of kidnapping, arson, assault and being sold into slavery.