Thu 29 Apr 2021 5:47AM

Lol nevermind, already exists: Platform for safe online communication/interaction

JB jess bees Public Seen by 10


Anyone with a public online persona will attract harassment after achieving a certain level of celebrity status. This goes double for people who are typical targets of harassment (outspoken women, sex workers, notable figures in an industry), and especially if they need to maintain their online presence in order to work. Getting mobbed by hostile strangers is psychic damage nobody needs to take, and it makes a social media platform unusable until it blows over.

Some Context: this idea came from reading A New Platform for Online Sex Workers. This idea could be its own platform, or on a smaller scale its ideas could be integrated into the SW platform's messaging system. This proposal assumes that it's going to be its own platform, but it should be easy to envision how you'd incorporate it into another platform's messaging system to enable safe communications by default.

Proposed Product

At its heart, the idea of this product is a message screening platform. The product consists of a dashboard displaying all of a user's connected social media feeds, but the defining feature is that messages/mentions/interactions must be screened by someone (a trusted friend or group of friends, a personal assistant, etc.) before showing up on a user's dashboard.

The intended usage is that a user disables notifications on all their connected social media accounts, and relies only on notifications from this platform (which will have been pre-approved by screeners before being sent). When a user finds themselves facnig harassment that makes viewing their social media feed too much to handle, they can call upon others (chosen by them) to filter their notifications (instead of locking down and leaving social media entirely).

Key Features

  • For the user (the social media account owner): A dashboard, separated by social media account, of all your messages/mentions/interactions which have been pre-screened by the people you trust to filter your incoming communications.

  • For the screeners: A queue to filter a recipient's notifications. Must support multiple people working on it at the same time. Given a single item in the queue, a screener has the option to:

    • forward it to its recipient

    • trash it

    • save it for later

    • flag it for attention of other screeners

    • keep it around for evidence (see next)

  • The ability to preserve evidence of an interaction by taking screenshots, saving links, and triggering an Internet Archive scrape, done automatically at the push of a button.


Adding support for different social media platforms will be tedious and error prone. We may find it desirable to also support screening email accounts, which introduce their own can of worms, not to mention it may warrant its own separate user interface.

We will certainly need to find something that this product can offer users that doesn't require a team of screeners to enable. Ideally nobody's in social media crisis mode all the time, so the product should still offer a benefit to a user who isn't actively under attack by a harassment mob. And it should offer a benefit to someone who is under attack, but hasn't found anyone to help them yet.

Prior Art

There is totally a startup doing something in the "online safety on social media" space, but I can not remember its name or the name of its founder! Any help? I have no idea if their product concept is the same as what I'm proposing. The one I'm thinking of is an early stage startup and began advertising jobs via Twitter sometime last year.

Edit: Block Party. Their name is Block Party. They are doing exactly what I'm describing. Literally to the letter. That's rad though, go them. I want to see this in the world, regardless of who makes it.