Online tools have become essential for everyone. They make it possible to easily search for information, pay for services almost instantaneously, communicate with friends around the world, and even hail a ride or bring food to the front door. They also have helped to raise money for flood victims, to organize people to respond to public health crises, and to register people to vote. The internet opens doors for a richer, more inclusive democracy, one in which voices that have historically been locked out by discrimination and money can express the needs of their communities. We have seen activists empowered to mobilize online, grow their audiences, and tell their stories—for example through the protests for criminal justice reform in Ferguson, Missouri,1 the emergence of the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault,2 and the response to a recent white supremacist rally in Boston that led to tens of thousands of peaceful counterprotesters.
The Center for American Progress joined with civil and human rights groups to develop new policies for internet companies—here’s what we did and why it is important.