No scoop here: Harassment and bullying is all over the internet, with the LGBTQ community, religious minorities, racial minorities and women targeted the most.
The big picture: New polling from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) finds the vast majority of people want something to change.
- "Over 80% of Americans want government to act by strengthening laws and improving training and resources for police on cyberhate," the ADL noted in its survey release.
- "67% of Americans want companies to make it easier to report hateful content and behavior."
- "81% want companies to provide more options for people to filter hateful or harassing content."
Between the lines: Most of the ADL's recommendations are about making laws for the physical world also cover the virtual one:
- "Legislators should ensure hate crime laws cover online hate."
- "States should close the gaps that often prevent stalking and harassment laws from punishing online misconduct."
- "Legislators should increase liability and remedies for information-sharing cybercrimes such as doxing, swatting, non-consensual pornography, and deepfakes."
What's next: Platforms are trying to combat bullying through better technology, Axios' Sara Fischer tells me.
- Instagram has developed a machine learning tool that can detect bullying in photos and captions.
- Twitter has created new tools, like a “mute” button, to help users avoid harassment on its platform.
And Axios’ Ina Fried emails: In addition to ramping up direct enforcement of content that violates their rules, Facebook and Twitter have been experimenting with lower placement for content that is seen as close to, but not over the line with regards to harassment.
- While some have criticized this as “shadow banning,” there is no reason that the platforms shouldn’t use what they know about content’s quality to determine placement.
The bottom line: Using the internet shouldn't have to be an awful experience for so many people.
- But right now, at least, it is.