- Spotify will soon let you block R. Kelly Monday 6:01 PM
- New Click to Pray app lets you pray with Pope Francis Monday 5:30 PM
- Social media influencer known for hiking in bikinis dead at 36 Monday 4:54 PM
- Trump posts altered pics on social media to make fingers look longer, report Monday 3:20 PM
- Twitch user banned after telling woman to ‘kill yourself’ during stream Monday 3:06 PM
- Facebook introduces ‘Community Actions’ tool to petition the government Monday 2:04 PM
- Sarah Sanders, NRA deliver truly misguided MLK tributes today Monday 12:58 PM
- MAGA teen who confronted Native elder says he ‘respects all races’ Monday 12:57 PM
- Popular YouTube channel in danger of disappearing because of copyright claims Monday 12:24 PM
- The Krassensteins’ Reddit AMA gets trolled off the internet Monday 12:08 PM
- No, Trump didn’t break open the Pizzagate scandal in 2011 Monday 11:23 AM
- Producer of anti-abortion film says Facebook refuses to run his ads Monday 10:58 AM
- Ja Rule thinks he was also a victim of Fyre Fest Monday 10:21 AM
- YouTube beef between RiceGum and H3H3 gets ugly—and personal Monday 10:02 AM
- ‘Fox & Friends’ accidentally airs obituary graphic for Ruth Bader Ginsburg Monday 9:40 AM
Even Twitter’s head of safety doesn’t go by her real name.
Over the past two years, many social media companies have insisted they’re trying to curb online harassment. However, according to a new study, online harassment is as bad as it’s ever been—and in some cases, maybe it’s gotten worse?
The survey, conducted by Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist (yes, that Craig), shows that rates of harassment have not changed much since 2014. There’s been a slight reduction in American adults who have experienced or known someone who has experienced online harassment (22 percent, down from 25 percent), and sexual harassment has declined drastically. However, because we’re in an election year, that seems to have been replaced with political harassment.
The survey also shows that people of color and women are most likely to be harassed, and that most abuse takes place on Facebook. Allyson Kapin of Rad Campaign, a partner with Newmark in the poll, said in a press release, “Clearly, we need to institute better tools, algorithms, and policies to support and empower people online, such as better methods for reporting harassment, as well as more effective and timely responses from the social networks themselves.”
Social networks regularly insist that safety is paramount. Instagram recently announced it’s rolling out a new way to filter comments, Twitter made updates to its block feature, and Facebook’s privacy officer Erin Egan told the Daily Dot that the company takes harassment very seriously. However, a regular user of those platforms has probably experienced abuse, either personally or by watching it happen to someone else.
Even Del Harvey, the head of Twitter’s Trust and Safety team, doesn’t use her real name, according to Elle. This was due to her past work with Perverted Justice, where she posed as a child “to conduct sting operations on adults attempting to solicit minors for sex online,” so it’s understandable why she’d want to keep her legal identity protected. But it doesn’t inspire much confidence in the platform that she still goes by a pseudonym.
In her defense, maybe this is because the survey shows how hard it is to separate social media from IRL: 61 percent of people harassed online knew their harasser in real life.
Jaya Saxena is a lifestyle writer and editor whose work focuses primarily on women's issues and web culture. Her writing has appeared in GQ, ELLE, the Toast, the New Yorker, Tthe Hairpin, BuzzFeed, Racked, Eater, Catapult, and others. She is the co-author of 'Dad Magazine,' the author of 'The Book Of Lost Recipes,' and the co-author of 'Basic Witches.'