Member News Release: New ADL Report on alarming levels of harassment online

Member News Release

There is no question that digital and social networks have become an essential part of our daily lives, both personally and professionally.

ADL’s second annual Online Hate and Harassment Report reveals the dark side of this reality. The report was conducted earlier this year, even before the COVID-driven acceleration of networked work-from-home.

Read the Online Hate and Harassment Report

Online harassment impacted 44% of respondents, and even more alarmingly, twenty-eight percent of Americans reported experiencing severe online hate and harassment, including sexual harassment, stalking, sustained harassment, physical threats, swatting or doxing.

Marginalized groups were especially targeted, facing harassment due to their religious beliefs, race, gender, sexual orientation and other characteristics. 65% of LGBTQ+ respondents experienced online harassment, which is the highest overall level of harassment for any group. Unsurprisingly in this era of partisan division, political beliefs were also a frequently reported reason for online hate.

What is ADL doing to fight hate online?

  • Stop Hate For Profit — In response to Facebook’s repeated failure to meaningfully address the vast proliferation of hate on its platforms, ADL, the NAACP, Sleeping Giants, Color Of Change, Free Press and Common Sense recently announced a new campaign, #StopHateforProfit, to call on businesses to pause advertising on Facebook during the month of July 2020. We’re also demanding meaningful policy and product changes of the platform.
  • Backspace Hate — This initiative supports victims and targets of online hate and harassment by helping to pass laws, state by state, to better hold perpetrators accountable for their actions online. Launched in 2019, Backspace Hate had its first legislative win earlier this year when Washington state passed a law, modeled on ADL’s proposed language, that protected targets of “swatting.”
  • Engagements with Tech Companies — Our Center for Technology and Society engages directly with tech companies, providing consultations on policy and product decisions these influential companies are making on their digital social platforms. Most recently we’ve engaged with Zoom as they made changes to their products around “Zoombombing.”

What Can YOU Do to Fight Hate Online?

  • If you see something, report something! — Your voice counts. Every mainstream social media platform has a mechanism that allows a user to report content that’s hateful or harassing. Reporting content is one of the main ways these platforms are alerted to problematic content. If content isn’t reported, they may not notice it via their own human and artificial-intelligence driven moderation.
  • Stand in solidarity with targets of racism, antisemitism and hate online — Social media has allowed hate and extremism to spread faster and farther than ever before, which causes real harm in our communities. ADL has continued to expose egregious examples of hate and extremism across Facebook’s products, which is supported by paid advertisements that are placed next to such hateful content. Sign the petition to #StopHateforProfit and demand Facebook’s advertisers stop supporting online hate.
  • Learn more from ADL — We want to inform the public about the nature of hate online, and what we can all do to fix the system. You can watch our recent webinar where we talked with industry leaders about safe and inclusive online gaming for your family.
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