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How Do We Stop Online Harassment?

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Folks, recently I launched a new infographic revealing the rise in online harassment with Rad Campaign and Lincoln Park Strategies.

Here's some important findings from the poll:
  • Women report being personally harassed much more frequently than men - the gender gap's 57% women to 43% men across all age groups.
  • Sexual harassment's the most common form of harassment - 44% of all incidences), followed by: Slurs on a person's professional ability (28%), Racial (23%), Religious (18%), and Political (16%) insults.
  • Surprisingly, the level of sexual harassment's virtually identical between men (44%) and women (43%). 62% of respondents who said they'd been harassed online said it happened on Facebook. And, Twitter came in second at 24%.
  • The poll found significant effects of the harassment, including people who said they were scared for their life (29% of those harassed) and were afraid to leave their house (20%).
  • More than 2/3 of those harassed online said they knew their harasser in real life. And in those under 35 , that number rose to 72%.

Allyson Kapin, Founder of Rad Campaign and Women Who Tech, really dove into more of the numbers in her article, New Poll Details Widespread Harassment Online, Especially on Facebook, and also did a good job talking about some solutions to online harassment.

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What I want to know, is what else can folks be doing to prevent online harassment? And what is it that people want to be done? This is a really big deal, and the first step toward dealing with unacceptable behavior, understand the problem, then we can get rid of it.

The deal is, people want social networks to intervene when there's harassment.

According to the poll,

  • 75% think suspending user accounts who have harassed others online would be somewhat or very successful at combating online harassment.
  • 64% think that creating a code of conduct for users would be somewhat or very successful at combating online harassment.
  • 25% of those harassed reported it to the social network where it occurred,
  • and 61% of the folks who reported online harassment said that the social network shut down the harasser's account in response to the report.

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This is a time when I think crowdsourcing solutions is the best way to do this. People have different experiences, and it's important to take those into consideration. Online harassment affects people differently, but the survey results show that it affects all types of folks. One thing that the majority agreed on was that the current laws about online and in-person harassment either aren't strong enough or are nonexistent.

What solutions do you propose to get rid of the problem? And how can social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, email service providers, etc. do a better job at addressing online harassment?

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