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Study: More than one-third of Americans harassed online

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Posted at 12:41 PM, Feb 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-13 13:41:02-05

(CNN) – A new survey shows the internet can be a dark and scary place for some users.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, more than half of all Americans say they were subjected to hateful speech and harassment online last year.

That may not seem like such a big deal in a realm where free speech and anonymity are often fiercely protected, but 37 percent say they suffered severe harassment.

That includes things like sexual harassment, physical threats and stalking.

It's a sharp increase from last year's numbers, where a similar study from Pew Research showed just 18 percent of Americans said they were harassed in 2017.

80 percent of those surveyed say the government should step in and strengthen laws against online harassment.

Social media companies and platforms like YouTube have made fighting hateful content a top priority.

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