ADLSurvey of Online Hate and Harrassment
The annual survey of hate and harassment online by the ADL Center for Technology and Society Social acknowledges that media platforms are vital online spaces where much public discourse takes place.
The results in 2022 show that hate and harassment remain at alarming levels. Forty percent of all those surveyed, and nearly half (47%) of American teens, report that they have experienced some form of online harassment. The rates are even higher for those in marginalized groups including Jews, women and people of color. A staggering 72 percent of marginalized youth report being harassed because of an aspect of their identity. The sharpest rise in online harassment was reported by Asian Americans; nearly twice as many reported experiencing it than in last year’s survey.
ADL also surveyed exposure to controversial content, especially content rooted in hate such as COVID conspiracy theories, tropes about Jewish economic and political power and Holocaust denial.
It’s clear that social media companies are nowhere near where they need to be when it comes to reducing the hate and harassment that plague their platforms, ADL states.
This kind of hate-based harassment can drive people out of online spaces where they no longer feel safe or welcome. Among adults who either experienced harassment or were worried about being harassed, 20% reported feeling anxious or having trouble sleeping and concentrating, and 13% struggled with more severe mental health outcomes such as depressive or suicidal thoughts.
Children are not immune to the impact of online hate and harassment. For many, being harassed causes serious, lasting harm affecting their mental or emotional health and their everyday behaviors. Online harassment can also spill over offline — 22% reported being harassed in person based on information about them online.
For things to get better, ADL suggests that tech companies prioritize people over profit and government action is needed to promote this and to hold the platforms accountable. Concerned people need to make a difference by speaking out.