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Digital incivilities, plague of the Web


Microsoft takes stock of the global situation of online harassment. Twenty-five countries were scrutinized in its 2020 digital incivility report.

Digital incivilities, plague of the Web

Silhouettes of laptop users next to a screen projection of the Facebook logo in this photo taken on March 28, 2018. © REUTERS / Dado Ruvic

Text by: Dominique Desaunay Follow

Microsoft takes stock of the global situation of online harassment. Twenty-five countries were scrutinized in its 2020 digital incivility report.


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Social networks are among the platforms on which hate speech is increasingly present. Digital incivility has become a scourge on the Internet, said Microsoft, which has just published its annual harassment barometer online . This flood of hateful and vexatious comments are written most of the time by perfect anonymous, notes the Redmond company, with big shots of hoaxes, scams, fraud, unwanted contact or sexist messages. A real social problem, of which the web giants never really wanted to take the measure , think most of the Internet users questioned.

Some subjects seem to stand out more often than others

Physical appearance is by far the first object of mockery on social networks and on the Web in general. Then come the sexual orientation of Internet users, their political positions and finally the expression of their faith or their religious practice. Of all the digital platforms, on which the hateful contents identified by Microsoft and which one can easily qualify as “ generic aggressiveness ”, that is to say without particular target, the social networks obviously come first , well ahead discussion forums on blogs or websites. On the podium of online retribution, we find in order Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter.

First victims of humiliating comments : women

Regardless of the country examined, women face the brunt of these online attacks on a regular and repeated basis . Significantly, 25% of them believe that they are victims of cyber harassment concerning their physical appearance. This hatred online spares neither the poor, nor students, nor the elderly. And especially not the " millennials ", the generation of teens and young adults very present on social networks, with an endless harassment which sometimes ends in drama.

Among the most affected countries, Vietnam, Russia, Colombia, Peru and South Africa

83% of South African respondents believe they are constantly harassed online. Remember, however, that Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, YouTube and, since January 2018, Google and Instagram have committed to removing insulting content in less than 24 hours. The 2020 panorama of online incivility published by the American firm proves, however, that this is not the case. There is still a long way to go before we can wipe out the flood of filthy words that have plagued the Web and social networks for too long.

Read also: Should anonymity be removed from the Internet?

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  • Internet
  • Social issues
  • Cybercriminality

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Source: rfi

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