Martha Lane Fox: Twitter would have done more to stop trolling if more women had designed it

The founder of Lastminute.com says technology companies would benefit from more women building tech products

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Twitter would have done more to stop online abuse and trolling if more women had been involved in the original design team, according to tech entrepreneur and life peer in the House of Lords Martha Lane Fox.

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The co-founder of ticket website Lastminute.com believes that the social media platform, along with Apple and many other companies in the technology sector, are failing to address women’s issues because there aren’t enough women involved in creating and building tech products.

“We are creating things that are less diverse than they could be, because women aren’t embedded in the design process,” she says in this week’s issue of Radio Times.

“Twitter has said if it had more women on their original design team it would have thought a bit more about the potential for trolling and online abuse,” she explained. “The Apple Health Kit [an app that consolidates your health data] has been touted as providing every test about your body that you could possibly want. Blood, sweat, tears. But not your period. Why? Because there was not one woman on the engineering team. Not one.” 

Lane Fox will be giving The Richard Dimbleby Lecture this year, broadcast on BBC1 on Monday 30th March at 10.45pm. After selling Lastminute.com for £557 million in 2005, the 42-year-old expanded her roles in promoting the value of the digital sector.

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Lane Fox was made a life peer in the House of Lords in March 2013, taking the title Baroness Lane Fox of Soho. She also sits on the boards of Channel 4 and Marks and Spencer, and was made chancellor of the Open University in March last year.

Read the full interview with Martha Lane Fox in this week’s Radio Times, in newsagents and available on the Apple Newsstand from Tuesday 24th March.