They’re less sure whether platforms should get involved.
A majority of Americans know online harassment when they see it, according to a newly released Pew Research Survey — but they’re much more divided on whether social media platforms should do anything about the behavior.
Pew presented 4,151 respondents with three scenarios asking whether they perceived certain messages and actions against the three made-up social media users to be harassment. The survey, notably, was conducted in March 2017, before the #MeToo movement gained momentum this fall.
The first hypothetical involves a man whose private message about politics is shared publicly on a social media account, leading to others sending him threatening messages and eventually sharing his private information. Eighty-nine percent of respondents considered that online harassment.
The second scenario involved a woman who receives some hurtful messages for posting about a political issue on her own social media account. Eventually a blogger shares her original post, which leads to sexually explicit messages, criticism of her looks, and threats. Eighty-nine percent also said this constituted online harassment.
The final scenario follows a similar outline, but the user instead receives racially charged messages and threats. Here’s that one, in full:
“John posts on his social media account, defending one side of a controversial political issue. A few people reply to him, with some supporting and some opposing him. As more people see his post, John receives unkind messages. Eventually his post is shared by a popular blogger with thousands of followers, and John receives vulgar messages that make racial insults and use a common racial slur. He also notices people posting pictures of him that have been edited to include racially insensitive images. Eventually, he receives threatening messages.”
Another overwhelming majority — 85 percent — said this scenario overall involves harassment. Slightly fewer — 82 Read More Here