This letter is to all social media providers.
I understand that negativity is common place online and nothing is really going to change that entirely. There are, however, best practices that do protect vulnerable groups. I implore you to do the same for the autistic community.
Diagnosed PTSD rates account for 64% of the autistic population. Taking into account communication difficulties the rate could be so much higher. I spoke to an autistic phycologist that said she hasn't dealt with an autistic person that didn't have PTSD.
The diagnostic rate of PTSD in the autistic community is 3 times higher than that of war veterans. Suicide rates are up to 9 times higher than the neurotypical population.
Also it's often autistic children that are targeted, accounts are banned but another one appears soon after.
Anti autism accounts have been around for a while. I am aware of that, but I have been told it's becoming a trend. Something like that could be so damaging to the community, remove trust and effectively nullify what I have been working towards: creating safe environments for autistic people to talk openly.
I think there should be better ways to report these accounts. Keyword flaggers to highlight disruptive accounts using words like anti autism, autism animal etc. I also want the word "retard" banned under hate speech.
Finally a three strike rule, an account that is banned twice from the same IP address, gets an IP ban on the third account. Accounts being taken down is only effective if the opportunity to keep creating accounts is removed.
I want this to be a shared agreement between all social media platforms so that this protection is in place from now on. To make interacting online safer for the community, because that's often where most social interaction takes place for a lot of autistic people.
All the best
Ross Fraser and Jeni Curtis