Online abuse and harassment are driving girls to quit social media platforms, according to a new global poll. The study said more than 58% of girls had experienced some form of abuse.
The survey, conducted by Plan International, involved 14,000 girls aged 15-25 in 22 countries, including Brazil, Benin, the US and India. Researchers also conducted a series of in-depth interviews, the organization said.
Incidences of attacks were most common on Facebook, where 39% women said they suffered harassment. Instagram (23%), Whatsapp (14%), Snapchat (10%), Twitter (9%) and TikTok (6%) users also said they had experienced abuse or harassment.
One in five girls had stopped or severely reduced their usage of social media due to such an attack, research found. One in ten girls had changed the way they express themselves online.
Some 22% of those surveyed said they, or a friend have been left fearing for their physical safety.
The most common type of attack was abusive and insulting language, which affected 59% of survey respondents. Purposeful embarrassment affected 41%, whereas body shaming and threats of sexual violence affected 39% each.
Attacks on ethnic minorities, racial abuse, and harassment of girls belonging to the LGBTIQ+ community were much higher.