Poll: Over third of Americans experienced severe online hate, harassment in 2018
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Poll: Over third of Americans experienced severe online hate, harassment in 2018

Anti-Defamation League report finds 16% of Jews have been harassed online over their religion

In this July 31, 2013 photo, the home page for Twitter is displayed on an iPad and a laptop computer. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
In this July 31, 2013 photo, the home page for Twitter is displayed on an iPad and a laptop computer. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

More than a third of Americans experienced severe online hate and harassment in 2018, a new study has found.

The incidents experienced by some 37 percent of Americans included stalking, physical threats or sustained harassment, and were more than double the 18% who reported such experiences in 2017, according to the Anti-Defamation League, which released the study “Online Hate and Harassment: The American Experience,” on Wednesday.

Of those who said they were harassed online, 56% reported that at least some of the offensive incidents occurred on Facebook. A smaller number experienced harassment or hate on Twitter (19%), YouTube (17%), Instagram (16%) and WhatsApp (13%).

When limited to daily users of social media platforms, the survey found that 47% of all daily users on the streaming gaming site Twitch have experienced harassment, followed by Reddit at 38%, Facebook at 37% and Discord at 36%.

In addition, 53% of Americans report having experienced any type of online hate and harassment. Most prevalent are milder forms of harassment: 41% of Americans reported being subjected to offensive name calling and 33% reported having been embarrassed on purpose.

Sixty-three percent of those who identified as LGBTQ+ experienced harassment online because of their identity. This was followed by Muslims (35%), Hispanics (30%), African-Americans (27%), women (24%), Asian-Americans (20%) and Jews (16%).

Over 80% of Americans want policymakers to strengthen laws and improve training and resources for police to deal with cyber hate. Some 84% said they want to see private technology companies take more decisive action to counter online hate and harassment.

The survey of 1,134 individuals was conducted from Dec. 17 to Dec. 27, 2018 by YouGov, on behalf of ADL’s Center for Technology and Society to examine Americans’ experiences with, and views of, online hate and harassment. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.

The survey included oversampling of respondents who identified as Jewish, Muslim, African American, Asian American or LGBTQ+. Panelists were then weighted for statistical relevance to national demographics

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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