Archive photo: Using the computer
Archive photo: Using the computerIstock

More than one-third of Americans experienced severe online hate and harassment in 2018, a new study reports.

The incidents experienced by some 37 percent of Americans included stalking, physical threats or sustained harassment, and were more than double the 18 percent 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 all those who said they were harassed online, 56 percent reported that at least some occurred on Facebook. A smaller number experienced harassment or hate on Twitter, at 19 percent; YouTube at 17 percent; Instagram, at 16 percent; and WhatsApp, at 13 percent. When limited to daily users of social media platforms, the survey found that nearly half, or 47 percent of all daily users on the streaming gaming site Twitch have experienced harassment, followed by Reddit at 38 percent; Facebook at 37 percent; and Discord at 36 percent.

In addition, 51 percent of Americans report having experienced any type of online hate and harassment. Most prevalent are milder forms of harassment: 41 percent of Americans reported being subjected to offensive name calling, and 33 percent reported having been embarrassed on purpose.

Over 80 percent of Americans want policymakers to strengthen laws and improve training and resources for police to deal with cyber hate. Some 84 percent 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.