Online harassment of Jews and other minorities has increased sharply this year, a new survey by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) revealed on Tuesday.
“Individuals who are part of a marginalized group…reported being less safe online this year than in the past,” the report stated. “On the whole, online harassment related to a target’s protected characteristics increased from 32 percent in 2018 to 35 percent in 2020. Additionally, religion-based harassment doubled in 2020 from 2018, to 22 percent.”
The ADL report pointed out that 43 percent of Jews experienced identity-based harassment in 2020, as compared with 35 percent in 2018.
Other minorities reported a similar experience. Sixty-one percent of those who identified as Muslim who experienced harassment online felt it was because of their religious identity, compared to last year’s 35 percent figure, while 42 percent of African Americans reported similarly, compared with 27 percent in 2018.
Overall, the report said, 28 percent of Americans experienced severe online hate and harassment so far this year, including sexual harassment, stalking, physical threats, swatting, doxing (posting an individuals’ private information online) or sustained harassment.
“It is by definition difficult to be part of a marginalized group, and that is as true in the online world as it is in the real world,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement. “This survey represents a snapshot of a moment in time prior to the coronavirus pandemic and the death of George Floyd, and we believe that if the same survey were conducted today even more people might report negative online experiences. Severe online harassment was a significant problem before, and in our current climate, it’s even more important for platforms and policymakers to take action.”
Platforms varied significantly in terms of harassment. Of all respondents who were harassed online, 77 percent reported that at least some of their harassment occurred on Facebook. Smaller shares experienced harassment or hate on Twitter (27 percent), YouTube (21 percent), Instagram (20 percent) and WhatsApp (nine percent).