Survey Unveils 40% of Women Experience or Observe Sexual Harassment on Social Media Platforms
A survey conducted by SellCell, a prominent online mobile phone price comparison site, sheds light on the prevalence of online sexual harassment among women using social media platforms. The study, carried out by OnePoll on behalf of SellCell, gathered responses from 3,000 active female social media users in the UK. Its objective was to ascertain the extent of women’s personal experiences with sexual harassment or their observations of such incidents.
(Kindly note that the survey questions and responses involve sensitive subjects.)
Out of the 3,000 female respondents who actively use social media, 40% reported either encountering or witnessing sexual harassment on various social media platforms or apps.
Among the 3,000 participants, 21% personally experienced sexual harassment on social media platforms or apps.
Of the respondents who experienced sexual harassment, 57% indicated that Facebook and Facebook Messenger were the platforms where they encountered such incidents.
Among women who faced sexual harassment on social media, 79% reported receiving unwelcome messages and/or sexual comments.
A significant 76% of women who experienced sexual harassment on social platforms or apps took action by blocking the offender(s).
Around 32% of victims reported long-term effects, including feelings of violation and/or intimidation.
Among the 2,342 respondents who had not experienced sexual harassment via social media, the majority (69%) attributed their safety to being selective about whom they follow or accept friend requests from.
Approximately 68.2% of the 3,000 female social media users surveyed believed that social media companies do not sufficiently protect individuals from online sexual harassment.
Survey Question Summary:
SellCell and OnePoll posed the following questions to 3,000 UK women who use social media, addressing sexual harassment incidents encountered through various platforms or apps. Content warning: The survey contains sensitive and/or sexual language.
Question 1) How would you describe your experience with sexual harassment on a social media platform/app?
Inquired about their experiences, 39.7% (1,190) of the respondents revealed personal encounters or observations of sexual harassment on social media platforms or apps.
Out of the 3,000 participants, 20.8% (624) stated that they personally experienced sexual harassment on a social platform or application, while 79.2% had no such experience.
Question 2) (For respondents who haven’t personally experienced sexual harassment through a social media platform or application) Why do you believe you have avoided personal experiences of sexual harassment on social media? [Select all that apply]
In response to this question, 69% (1,605) of the 2,342 women who hadn’t personally encountered sexual harassment on social media credited their vigilance in choosing whom to follow or accept friend requests from.
42% of respondents kept their social media accounts private to prevent harassment, and 41% refrained from sharing much personal information due to their lack of trust in platform safety measures.
32% used social media solely for news and activities rather than socializing, while 5% limited their social media use to work or business purposes.
Question 3) (For respondents who have personally experienced sexual harassment through a social media platform or application) Which social media platforms/apps have you personally experienced sexual harassment on? [Select all that apply]
Among the 624 women who experienced sexual harassment, 57% specified Facebook and/or Facebook Messenger as the platforms where they were most likely to be harassed.
37% of these respondents mentioned Instagram as the app or platform, while 26% attributed their experiences to dating apps such as Tinder or Hinge.
4% of the respondents who encountered online sexual harassment fell victim to offenders on LinkedIn, a professional networking platform.
Question 4) (For respondents who have personally experienced sexual harassment through a social media platform or application) What types of sexual harassment have you personally experienced on social media platforms/apps? [Select all that apply]
The majority (79%) of women who faced sexual harassment on social media reported receiving unwelcome sexual comments or messages.
59% of victims expressed discomfort due to friend requests or invitations from strangers.
48% of those targeted received pornographic photos or videos.
9% of victims encountered threats of sexual violence.
Question 5) (For respondents who have personally experienced sexual harassment through a social media platform or application) Did you report or take any action when you personally experienced sexual harassment on social media? [Select all that apply]
Out of the 624 women who reported being sexually harassed on social media, 76% of them took action by blocking the individuals responsible.
42% of respondents reported the offender to the respective social media app or platform.
5% escalated the matter to the police, while unfortunately, 11% did nothing, lacking confidence that the platform, app, or police would take action against the offender.
Question 6) (For respondents who have personally experienced sexual harassment through a social media platform or application) What long-term effects have you experienced as a result of the online sexual harassment? [Select all that apply]
Of the women who responded positively to question one, 32% stated that the experience left them feeling violated and/or intimidated.
21% mentioned that the sexual harassment made them doubt their personal appearance, while 19% reported suffering from anxiety.
10% experienced negative impacts on their current intimate relationships, and 3% stated that their careers were affected by the actions of the offenders.
Question 7) (For all respondents) How would you describe your experience with sexual harassment on a social media platform/app?
Among the 3,000 women surveyed, an overwhelming majority of 68.2% (2,045 women) expressed dissatisfaction with social media companies’ efforts in combating sexual harassment on their platforms or applications.
Only 7.8% believed that social media companies are doing enough, while 24.0% were unsure about the level of protection provided to female users against sexual harassment.