#LetsMisinterpretDataTogether: Online Harassment

online harassment

“Everyone knows the Internet is a safe bastion of open conversation and understanding.”



(From time to time, we like to look at data and wonder “what if this was completely misinterpreted by someone, who would then use their incorrect analysis to create an argument equally as idiotic?” We like to think this would be that argument. In this edition we misinterpret a new Pew Research Center report on online harassment. The report shows that online harassment is becoming a major problem with 73% saying that have witnessed someone being harassed and 40% having personally experienced it.)



Recently there has been an epidemic of online harassment on the Internet. Incidents like #GamersGate have many questioning whether online harassment has crossed over from minor nuisance to serious threat. Many worry that the Internet is becoming an inhospitable place.


And all of this is just not true.


The Internet is still a place where ideas are traded freely and opinions can be expressed. A recent Pew Research report proves that to be the case. Of those survey they said only 40% had ever experienced online harassment.


Only 40%!?! That’s less than half!


From all the noise that has been going around online, you would think online harassment had become an epidemic on all corners of the Internet. To call 40% an epidemic is a sizable reach. What’s even crazier is that of those harassed, any “major threat” categories being extremely small with physically threatened (8%), being stalked (8%), harassed for a sustained period (7%), and having been sexually harassed (6%) all being under 10%.


Everyone knows the Internet is a safe bastion of open conversation and understanding. These numbers prove it.



(Photo Credit: Associated Press)


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