A recent survey conducted by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has revealed on Wednesday a troubling trend of online hate and harassment, affecting more than half of all Americans. The fifth annual survey found that 52 percent of respondents reported experiencing some form of online hate or harassment in their lifetimes, marking a significant increase from previous years.
The survey, which sampled 2,139 individuals across the United States, uncovered a surge in reports of hate and harassment over the past 12 months, affecting various demographic groups. Notably, the LGBT community, Black/African American individuals and Muslims experienced the highest increases in hate and harassment, with rates of 47 percent, 38 percent, and 38 percent, respectively.
Not surprisingly, transgender individuals faced the highest rate of harassment, with a staggering 76 percent reporting incidents of online abuse in their lifetimes. In the past year alone, 51 percent of transgender respondents experienced harassment, the highest among any reported demographic category.
The survey also highlighted a rise in online hate towards the Jewish community, as Jewish respondents reported an increase to 26 percent in the past 12 months, compared to 21 percent in 2022. Furthermore, 80 percent of Jewish respondents expressed concerns about being harassed for their religion, leading some to avoid identifying themselves as Jewish, even on social media platforms.
ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt expressed deep concern over the record levels of hate permeating the internet, emphasizing the need for action. Greenblatt urged policymakers and tech companies to fulfill their commitments to combat hate online, emphasizing that online hate often manifests in real-life violence and poses a danger to communities.
Yael Eisenstat, ADL Vice President and head of the Center for Technology & Society criticized social media platforms for failing to address the sustained and worsening harassment experienced by users. Eisenstadt called for social media companies to prioritize user protection against hate and emphasized the importance of transparency reporting and data disclosures to evaluate their enforcement of content moderation rules.
51% of teenagers reported experiencing online harassment
The survey also shed light on the increased vulnerability of teenagers, as 51 percent of teenagers aged 13-17 reported experiencing online harassment, a rise of 15 percentage points from the previous year.
Facebook emerged as the primary platform where the harassment occurred, with 54 percent of those who reported being harassed indicating it took place on the social media giant. Twitter and Reddit also witnessed an alarming increase in harassment rates, rising to 27 percent and 15 percent, respectively.
Despite the numerous promises made by platforms to combat harmful content and enhance resources for targeted individuals, the survey's findings demonstrate that hate and harassment continue to plague online spaces.
On Tuesday, a German organization monitoring antisemitism said a total of 2,480 incidents were recorded in the country last year, averaging just below seven incidents per day.
In their annual report, the Department for Research and Information on Antisemitism (RIAS) stated that although there was a slight decrease in antisemitic incidents in 2022 compared to the previous year, there were nine instances of extreme violence. This marked the highest number of such cases since nationwide record-keeping commenced in 2017.
Earlier this week, a Dutch antisemitism monitoring group saw a decrease in the number of incidents reported in the European country in 2022.
The Israel Information and Documentation Center (CIDI) has released its annual report on antisemitism, revealing a decline of fifteen percent in reported incidents compared to 2021. The organization highlighted this decrease in a press release.
According to the report, the CIDI recorded 155 incidents in 2022, a decrease from the 183 incidents reported in 2021. However, it is important to note that the number still surpasses the figures from the pandemic-affected year of 2020, during which 135 cases of Jew-hatred were reported. It is also worth mentioning that incidents occurring on social media were not included in these statistics.