Published by
Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris will inaugurate a task force on Thursday to curb online harassment, fulfilling one of the Biden campaign’s promises in the wake of a mass shooting that highlights a link between online abuse and violence.

The group will be tasked with producing within six months a blueprint detailing actions to address the problem, including more support for victims, prevention and greater accountability for aggressors and platforms hosting them.

The task force will be co-chaired by the White House Gender Policy Council and National Security Council, according to senior administration officials who previewed the announcement in a call on Wednesday evening.

The creation of the task force comes in the wake of a mass shootings in Texas, where the gunman allegedly posted violent online content before carrying out the bloody rampage.

According to reports from CNN, the Washington Post and others, Salvador Ramos, who shot and killed 19 children and two adults in an elementary school in Uvalde, threatened to rape girls and shoot up schools on social media app Yubo before the attack.

“It’s imperative that we commit to better understanding and addressing the nexus between online misogyny and radicalization to violence,” a senior administration official said.

One in three women under the age of 35 and over half of LGBT people in the United States report experiencing sexual harassment and stalking online, according to the White House.

Harris will be joined on Thursday by Attorney General Merrick Garland, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and tennis star Sloane Stephens, who publicized a torrent of angry messages she received on social media, including racist and sexist abuse, following her loss at the U.S. Open.

(Reporting by Alexandra Alper; Editing by William Mallard)