Over half of Americans have faced online hate, survey finds


By Kanishka Singh

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Over half of Americans surveyed in the last year reported facing online harassment and hate during their lifetime, including more than 75% of transgender responders, advocacy group Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said on Wednesday.

ADL’s fifth such annual survey showed that reports of online hate and harassment over the last 12 months increased within almost every demographic group in the United States.

About 52% of the U.S. survey responders reported having faced online harassment, compared to 40% in the survey’s previous year.

“We’re confronted with record levels of hate across the internet, hate that too often turns into real violence and danger in our communities,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, urging tech and social media platforms to do more to tackle online hate.

The rate of harassment stood at 76% for transgender people, while 26% of Jewish respondents, 38% of Black Americans and 38% of Muslims said they had been harassed online at some point in their life.

Excluding transgender people, 47% of the LGBTQ+ community respondents reported online harassment.

“Due to the recent proliferation of extreme anti-transgender legislation and rhetoric, ADL sampled transgender individuals separately this year,” the advocacy group said.

Republican-led states have signed a flurry of bills relating to transgender youth, which proponents say are aimed at protecting minors and opponents say limit their rights. Some states have banned teachers of younger children from discussing gender or sexuality, while conservative lawmakers have also proposed or passed laws restricting drag performances.

Earlier this month, President Joe Biden warned about “ugly” attacks from “hysterical” people who he said were targeting LGBTQ+ Americans, especially transgender youth.

The survey of 2,139 adults and 550 teenagers was conducted online from March 7 through April 6 by YouGov, a public opinion and data analytics firm, on behalf of ADL. It oversampled respondents who identified as LGBTQ+ or as members of various minorities.

Of those who reported being harassed, 54% indicated harassment took place on Facebook, which was down from 57% in the previous survey. About 27% said harassment took place on Twitter, up from 21% previously. Nearly 15% said it occurred on Reddit, up from 5% in the last survey.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; editing by Ismail Shakil and Rosalba O’Brien)

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