Nearly half of internet users face harassment, driving queer people, women, and people of color to self-censor

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Almost half—47 percent—of internet users have experienced some form of harassment online, according to a study released this week. Many young people, queer people, women, and people of color surveyed in the study, conducted by research nonprofits Data & Society and the Center for Innovative Public Health Research, self-censor—or cease posting altogether—in response to being harassed, fearing that speaking out further could lead to more harassment or worse.

Men and women responded equally that they had been on the receiving end of harassment in the 3,002-person phone survey, but women reported a more diverse range of types of harassment out of the options of Direct (person-to-person), Invasion of privacy (being hacked or doxxed), and Denial of access (being mass reported or "technical attacks).


"If women, people of color, and LGB internet users are shying away from contributing because of well-founded fears of retaliation, their voices will be missing from this important civic sphere," Data & Society's Alice Marwick wrote on Quartz Thursday.


With Twitter's inability to come up with any meaningful reforms to its system to prevent abuse, paired with the increased normalization of abhorrent views in public spheres thanks to President-elect Trump and his followers, it feels like this problem will unfortunately not cease to exist anytime soon.

Sam Stecklow is the Weekend Editor for Fusion.