News

Harassed on social media? You’re not alone

Harassed on social media? You’re not alone

'SOCIALLY'-ACCEPTABLE BULLYING: Almost 30 percent of respondents said that after receiving online threats, they were scared for their lives, and 20 percent said they were scared to leave their homes. Photo: Associated Press

By Maria Caspani

NEW YORK -Nearly half of Americans under 35 have been bullied, harassed or threatened online, while women make up 57 percent of victims, according to a new survey by online advocacy groups.

Sixty-two percent of the 1,007 people over 18 surveyed said the harassment happened on Facebook, while 24 percent was on Twitter, according to a poll conducted by Rad Campaign, Lincoln Park Strategies and Craig Newmark – the founder of the Craigslist classified ads site.

More than two-thirds (67 percent) of those harassed online knew their harasser in real life, while in the under-35 age group, that number rose to 72 percent.

“The first step toward dealing with unacceptable behavior: understand the problem, then we can get rid of it,” Craig Newmark said.

The survey, conducted between May 20 and 22, found that sexual harassment is the most common form of online abuse (44 percent), followed by abuse about professional ability (28 percent), about a person’s race (23 percent) and homophobic remarks (14 percent).

Overall, the poll found that a quarter of Americans said they have been victims of cyber abuse.

Legislation to tackle cyber abuse is still patchy in the United States. There are a handful of laws at the federal level for cases of cyber-stalking, as Los Angeles-based journalist Amanda Hess wrote earlier this year in a series about women and online abuse.

Yet 62 percent of the online harassment poll respondents said that laws to tackle online abuse are not strong enough or are nonexistent.

A major problem, besides pinning down the abuser, is the fleeting nature of the web, where comments and profiles can easily be deleted while retrieving them would require will and ability.

It is also difficult to fully grasp the tone of threats made online, though the impact can be powerful and crippling.

Almost 30 percent of respondents said that after receiving online threats, they were scared for their lives, and 20 percent said they were scared to leave their homes.

Latest Stories

in Music

Soundgarden fan sends death threats to Chris Cornell

Chris Cornell of Soundgarden performs at Rock on the Range on Sunday, May 19, 2013 in Columbus, Ohio.

An obsessed fan of Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell has been arrested and charged with sending death threats to the rocker and his family.

in Music

Arcade Fire confused by fans’ love for free downloads

Win Butler and Reed Parry of Arcade Fire perform at the 2014 Big Day Out Festival.

Arcade Fire are baffled by the avalanche of online file-sharing because fans will regularly buy expensive coffee but expect to get records for free.

in National, World

Israel intensifies Gaza assault, Egyptians revise truce plan

A Palestinian firefighter reacts as he tries to put out a fire at Gaza's main power plant, which witnesses said was hit in Israeli shelling, in the central Gaza Strip July 29, 2014.

Israel knocked out Gaza's only power plant, while Egyptian mediators prepared a revised proposal for halting its war with Islamist militants in the enclave.