Alison Weissbrot
Oct 16, 2020

#MeToo movement finds unlikely ally in fight against sexual violence: blockchain

The social justice group teamed up with FCB Six to launch a platform that helps people get involved in the movement and records their participation on a digital ledger.

#MeToo movement finds unlikely ally in fight against sexual violence: blockchain

Activism and cutting-edge technology don’t often go together.

But three years into the #MeToo Movement, founder Tarana Burke wanted to leverage technology and get people more involved in the organisation’s efforts.

“The two questions I get the most about #MeToo are, what's next and how can I be involved?” she said. “I wanted to figure out how we could use technology to make people feel connected to the movement and make it accessible to get involved.”

The #MeToo organisation engaged data and technology-driven creative agency FCB Six, which it has worked with on various projects since 2018. When the team came back with a proposal to use blockchain to power a new platform, Burke was skeptical.

“We knew we wanted to create a database of some sort, an engine that gives people access to information,” she said. “But when they came back with blockchain, our side was like, isn't that like bitcoin?”

Blockchain, a much-hyped technology that has yet to widely be applied in marketing, stores information on a digital ledger that can’t be deleted. While it may not seem obvious on the surface, its ability to permanently record people’s actions in the fight against sexual violence was actually an ideal use case for #MeToo’s campaign, said Andrea Cook, global president at FCB Six.

“History is written by the oppressor, by the winner,” she said.  “We wanted to honour the men and women who have gotten us to where we are in the battle against sexual violence, and needed a system that was going to allow that to be recorded properly.”

The platform, called Act Too, allows people interested in the movement to create a to-do list with personalised actions, from talking to a family member, to joining a local march, to donating to the cause. People can apply filters to get personalised recommendations on how to get involved based on their interests, or recommend their own set of actions to the platform that others can take.

Once someone checks an action off their to-do list, it gets recorded on the blockchain, which that person can access by clicking on a small cube. At the end of every year, #MeToo will create a mural out of all the blockchain cubes recorded throughout the year.

“We’ll have a new picture that quantifies the number of actions taken that year by individuals,” Burke said. “But not in just a list. It's a beautiful, memorable mural that shows what this history looks like, and how you can contribute.”

The launch of Act Too will kick off Thursday with a digital rally attended by celebrity activists including Alyssa Milano and Gabrielle Union. It will be supported by paid media, including online video ads voiced by Burke, a billboard in Times Square and a massive influencer campaign that engages celebrities and #MeToo ambassadors on social.

While the blockchain platform will live on forever, #MeToo plans to do awareness pushes in culturally relevant moments, such as ahead of R. Kelly’s criminal trial or during Women’s History Month.

“There will be cultural moments that happen that will spark people to say, this is an awful issue. What can I do?” Burke said. “Now we have an answer to that question.”


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