Podcast producer and activist Bridget Todd is taking on the “tech bros” in her new iHeartPodcast Network show, There Are No Girls on the Internet. The show will explore not only how the recent racial justice conversation was born online, but how women and minority communities were behind the rise of the powerful tech industry that remains controlled by white men.
“I want to bust the myth that the only voices that matter in tech belong to white men,” said Todd, who thinks there should be pushback against the idea that platforms like Facebook and Twitter are neutral. “Just take a look at who feels at home in the tech space and online,” she said. “By buying into the idea that tech and the internet are not our domain, we’ve let white male tech leaders dominate the conversation in a space where our voices should be the loudest.”
The among the first episodes of There Are No Girls on the Internet explains the connection between the convicted sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein and the director of the MIT Media Lab, Joi Ito. That connection came to light after a Ronan Farrow exposé based on information from Arwa Mboya, a Kenyan virtual reality programmer and MIT student. Todd talks with Mboya about how the bravery and community of women and girls gave her the courage to take a stand. The second episode is “How Black Women Tried To Save Twitter” and tells the story of Shafiqah Hudson, who uncovered bad actors pretending to be Black women on Twitter, spreading disinformation and discord. She sounded the alarm to Twitter officials but says they ignored her, so Hudson created the hashtag #YourSlipIsShowing to help stamp them out.
“Framing tech as neutral lets tech leaders off the hook for the way their policies and platforms hurt people, many of whom are women, Black people, and other marginalized voices,” said Todd. “We need monuments to all the ways that marginalized voices have shaped what it means to be online, so let’s build them.”
Todd is the former co-host of iHeartPodcast Network’s Stuff Mom Never Told You and is the founder and CEO of Unbossed Creative, a mission-driven creative studio that makes podcasts and other digital content to push the needle on social change and public good.