It might not be news to gamers that their online playgrounds can be toxic, but a new study from the Anti-Defamation League has confirmed that a disturbing level of hate and harassment definitely exists. Nearly half (47%) of daily Twitch users reported experiencing harassment, compared to 38% on Reddit, 37% on Facebook, and 36% on Discord. Among all users, Twitter (19%), YouTube (17%), Instagram (16%), and WhatsApp (13%) fared best in terms of the number of users reporting harassment.
“It’s deeply disturbing to see how prevalent online hate is, and how it affects so many Americans,” Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt said in a statement. “Cyberhate is not limited to what’s solely behind a screen; it can have grave effects on the quality of everyday lives — both online and offline. People are experiencing hate and harassment online every day and some are even changing their habits to avoid contact with their harassers.”
In response, Twitch appears to be instituting a zero-tolerance policy. The site updated its community guidelines last year to curtail hate and harassment on its platform. Conduct that violates the hate policy will result in an indefinite suspension. The company is also now weighing verifiable harassment outside of the platform when disciplinary actions are decided on Twitch. In other words, people who abuse users on other platforms are now also in violation of Twitch’s community guidelines.
Have you experienced hate or harassment on Twitch, Discord, or another online platform? In your experience, is it common? Is the harassment higher than on any other platforms? We want to hear from you in the comments below.