Why it matters: Hateful behavior and harassment continue to plague online communities. Try as they might, social platforms have thus far failed to curb the epidemic. In fact, it's only getting worse as more people come online.

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