A new report has warned that online harassment is now being unleashed in India, where social media platforms are increasingly being used to spread hate speech, abuse and hate speech against minorities.
The report, released by the Centre for Research on Social Media (CRSSM), a non-profit organisation, is based on a survey of nearly 800 social media users conducted by CRSSM in 2016.
The report’s authors said that on a daily basis, “the frequency and intensity of online harassment in India has been on the rise.”
In a recent poll conducted by the organisation, about one-third of respondents said they had experienced harassment online, while about 50 per cent of respondents reported that their colleagues and acquaintances had also been targeted online.
This rise in online harassment has been largely fueled by the growing influence of online platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
The two most popular platforms, Twitter and Instagram, have over 20 million active users each, with over 90 per cent reporting being harassed online.
In India, Twitter has become a major source of hate speech and harassment, with almost 90 per 10,000 people reporting having been harassed on the platform.
As the report said, Twitter’s abusive content, and its tendency to promote misinformation and sensationalist narratives, has been a major driver of the rise in harassment and hate.
Social media platforms have come under a lot of scrutiny in recent years.
Twitter, the social media platform that was created by Mark Zuckerberg in 2014, has since become one of the most hated and hated companies in the world.
It has been accused of being one of Facebook’s most powerful tools in the battle against hate speech.
The CRSSSM report found that over 80 per cent users reported being harassed by their online colleagues, friends and relatives, while many said they faced severe emotional distress after being harassed.
The majority of respondents to the CRSS survey said they were harassed because of their political beliefs or their religious beliefs, while nearly 90 per 5,000 respondents had experienced sexual harassment.
The authors of the report, Gopal Subramanian, and Prakash Singh, said that while the harassment online had not abated, it was now being used as a tool of manipulation, to intimidate people into silence, and to spread hatred and hate to a large audience.
“The increasing use of social media to spread intolerance has not only brought online harassment to the forefront, it has also led to a rise in the prevalence of hate and racism on social media,” the report stated.
The study found that on average, the frequency of online abuse and harassment doubled from two years ago to six months ago.
In 2016, nearly 70 per cent respondents had been harassed by a colleague or acquaintance, while around 40 per 5 and 45 per 10 had been targeted for their political views.
In addition, over 40 per 10 respondents had faced harassment by an acquaintance or friend, while 45 per 5 people had experienced physical or verbal abuse.
“Social media companies have not only created a platform for hate and bigotry, but have also created an environment where hate speech has become the norm and people are more vulnerable to online harassment,” Subramanic said.