Rosie Jones, the 33-year-old comedian, has faced online abuse throughout her life due to her ataxic cerebral palsy. However, she has found a way to combat the negativity with the help of AI technology. Rosie discovered Arwen, a company utilizing artificial intelligence inspired by the late Caroline Flack, which filters offensive comments from users’ social media feeds.
Her documentary titled ‘Am I A R****d?’ sparked a significant backlash, generating heated debates on the controversial term. While many people provided strong support for the project, Rosie also received overwhelming and emotional feedback. For Rosie, the word represents one of the many ableist slurs she has encountered throughout her life.
Although Rosie relied on headphones to drown out the abuse she faced in public, social media made it impossible to escape the negative comments. Arwen’s AI technology stepped in to protect Rosie from the hateful messages she received online. In the past two years, Arwen has blocked and shielded her from over 400 harmful messages. This newfound solution has given Rosie the reassurance to be her authentic self on social media while engaging with a safe community.
Rosie believes that social media platforms should take more responsibility in preventing abuse faced by disabled individuals. She emphasizes the importance of government-backed initiatives, such as the Online Safety Bill, which should put pressure on social media networks to remove illegal content and combat hate speech targeting the disabled community.
Prior to using Arwen, Rosie found Twitter to be the worst platform for abusive messages. Research has shown a significant increase in online hate speech since Elon Musk took over the platform in October. Rosie notes that reporting abusive tweets, even when they contain offensive language, often leads to inadequate responses from Twitter. She believes that ableist abuse should be treated just as seriously as other forms of hate speech and hopes to draw attention to the issue of disability trolling.
While social media should ideally provide a safe environment for everyone, the anonymity it offers sometimes leads to the worst behavior in people. However, Rosie no longer has to witness the hateful comments directed at her, thanks to Arwen AI. The constant stream of abuse was taking a toll on Rosie, and she even contemplated giving up comedy. Now, she expresses her gratitude to Arwen for filtering out the relentless abuse and giving her the strength to continue pursuing her passion.
Rosie’s story sheds light on the challenges faced by disabled individuals in dealing with online abuse. It also highlights the potential benefits of AI technology in combatting hate speech and creating safer online spaces. As conversations surrounding online safety continue, it becomes increasingly important to address the issues faced by marginalized groups and develop effective solutions.