More than a third of Americans have experienced severe online hate and harassment

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

More than half of Americans have experienced some form of online hate or harassment according to a study recently published by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

Some experienced harsher treatment than others. The survey found that 37 percent of Americans experienced severe hate and harassment including stalking, sexual harassment, physical threats or sustained harassment. Alarmingly, this figure is up from just 18 percent who reported similar experiences in 2017.

The ADL found harassment to exist on virtually every social platform. Of those who reported being harassed online, 56 percent said that at least some of the abuse occurred on Facebook. Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and WhatsApp were also havens for hate although on a smaller scale (19 percent, 17 percent, 16 percent and 13 percent, respectively).

When limited to daily users of platforms, the ADL found that 47 percent of daily users on Twitch have experienced harassment. Similarly, 38 percent of Reddit users, 37 percent of Facebook users and 36 percent of Discord daily users reported experiencing harassment.

Survey data was collected from 1,134 individuals between December 17 and December 28 by YouGov, a leading public opinion and data analytics firm, on behalf of the ADL.

Lead image courtesy Burdun Iliya via Shutterstock

Permalink to story.

 

Adhmuz

TechSpot Paladin
The internet is filled with hate filled no-lifers? Wow I never noticed this before, just reading YouTube comments and I thought everyone was perfectly polite and very respectful towards the views and opinions of the other people posting...
 

TomSEA

TechSpot Chancellor
What Danny101 said.

There's no doubt that harassment occurs on the Internet. As soon as people discovered anonymity was involved, the claws came out and snarky behavior showed up.

But exactly what constitutes harassment and how frequently does it truly happen? I have a problem believing 56% of the people on Facebook have been "harassed."

You have people who would consider themselves harassed if someone simply told them, "that's not true." Then you have people like me who would need about two dump truckloads of name calling before I'd consider myself harassed. Lastly you have a slew of teen aged kids who think its cute to call names and say negative things. I wouldn't even bother counting anything posted by a teen as harassment.

Take out the sensitive snowflake and age factor, quantify exactly what constitutes harassment for survey purposes and then what would the stats look like?
 

Danny101

TS Guru
I've gone into liberal spaces on Facebook and post what I believe to be true statements, but I already know it's going to rile them up. It's fun watching them explode and dump all their liberal garbage on me. Now who's harassing who?

For the record, I don't hate liberals and I don't argue when I believe they have gotten something right, and they occasionally do. I just try to correct what I see as misguided policy. There's not a system in the world that is immune from abuse. The right thing can be done for the wrong reasons.
 

amghwk

TS Guru
After the advent of social media - the revolution of the internet, it had exposed the true colors of the human species. Trolls, and people just like provoking and hurting others. 70% of the humans are a-holes.
 

Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
The laws simply need to keep up with the technology. In the real world threats and intimidation can be met with restraining orders, arrests, and civil actions ..... there should be no reason the same could not apply to the on line world. People get on their computers and think they are invisible .... it's time to change that .....
 

psycros

TS Evangelist
Give people anonymity and a soapbox and you'll see who they really are. But don't worry, Big Telecom and the liberals who control the media are hard at work on classing all speech they disagree with as micro-aggression, harassment and terrorism. Pretty soon we'll all be using virtual online identities just to maintain some degree of free speech.
 
Last edited:

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
Give people anonymity and a soapbox and you'll see who they really are. But don't worry, Big Telecom and the liberals who control the media are hard at work on classing all speech they disagree with as micro-aggression, harassment and terrorism.
And conservatives are busy manufacturing alternative facts.
 

psycros

TS Evangelist
And conservatives are busy manufacturing alternative facts.
When one political agenda controls 95% of the media then, yeah, I suppose the truth often does qualify as the "alternative". At least you had enough to class not to deny that reality. As for the fabrication of facts, both sides are equally guilty but only one side is trying to silence all others. Also, conservatives aren't usually the ones making things up..you can give full credit to the corporatists and neo-communists for that.
 
I've gone into liberal spaces on Facebook and post what I believe to be true statements, but I already know it's going to rile them up. It's fun watching them explode and dump all their liberal garbage on me. Now who's harassing who?
That's the definition of a troll. Hard to label any of that or their reactions harassment. That's just talkin' smack on Ye Olde Internette.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Danny101

Tantor

TS Enthusiast
Harassment refers to *repeated* small attacks. A single attack is not harassment. Harassment only applies when somebody cannot get away, and is subject to repeated attacks.

Online stuff usually doesn't qualify as harassment. That's because the harassee can leave or block the other person. You choose if you want to expose yourself to online harassment. However, many people choose to not leave, because their ego is hurt and they want revenge. In that case they are fully responsible for exposing themselves to harassment.

Online harassment takes two people. One writes the stuff, and the other CHOOSES to read it. But the harassee is also perfectly free to harass the harasser.

Many who complain about harassment are really admitting that they don't have the intestinal fortitude or writing skills to duke it out with somebody who disagrees with them. Many can't handle strongly expressed opposing viewpoints. It isn't that they hate harrassment, they're mad because they are losing. Their ego is bruised.

Don't get me wrong. I despise certain types of trolling behavior, where people make belligerent nonsense posts intended to get people angry. There's no possibility of dialog with them. However, in such cases I choose to leave. It's very easy, but can be emotionally painful. The consolation is that most posts get buried down the memory hole, and have absolutely no meaning. Very few people take the time to read posts older than a couple of days.

Some people claim threats of violence are harassment. But that's not strictly true, unless they are repeated. A single threat is just that, a single threat.

George Orwell said that "True freedom is the right to say something that others don't want to hear."

He also said

- Freedom of the Press, if it means anything at all, means the freedom to criticize and oppose

- The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness, and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better.

- Take away freedom of speech, and the creative faculties dry up.

- Threats to freedom of speech, writing and action, though often trivial in isolation, are cumulative in their effect and, unless checked, lead to a general disrespect for the rights of the citizen.
 
  • Like
Reactions: TsVkK

Tantor

TS Enthusiast
Give people anonymity and a soapbox and you'll see who they really are. But don't worry, Big Telecom and the liberals who control the media are hard at work on classing all speech they disagree with as micro-aggression, harassment and terrorism.
And conservatives are busy manufacturing alternative facts.
Don't kid yourself, Liberals are also master Alternative Fact creators. The important thing is to maintain an open communication channel. Otherwise everything falls apart.
 

ET3D

TechSpot Paladin
Americans in general are both rude and extremely sensitive to (imagined) transgressions, so it's no wonder. (One researcher compared the most commonly used words on Twitter by US and Canadian people, and the difference was quite clear.)
 

Theinsanegamer

TS Evangelist
Tell the snoflakes to get off of their computers and get a life. Every person IRL that I've met that thinks online harassment and bullying is a "severe" problem has skin as thin as an egg shell, can be offended by the most minute garbage, and wont DARE stand up for any of their ideals unless they have a mob behind them or are on the internet.

Interestingly, these people also tend to rely on other people's money while they screech on tumblr. If they are put into a situation where they have to hold an actual job, or care for a family, they break down. We are expected to help these people, because "OMG life so hard". They used to get bullied IRL and learn how to act around others, but in the days of the internet you can just REEEEEE online without having to deal with other people, so you never have to learn how to deal with other personalities or ideals other then your own.

This generation is screwed.