SoK: Hate, harassment, and the changing landscape of online abuse

Kurt Thomas, Devdatta Akhawe, Michael Bailey, Dan Boneh, Elie Bursztein, Sunny Consolvo, Nicola Dell, Zakir Durumeric, Patrick Gage Kelley, Deepak Kumar, Damon McCoy, Sarah Meiklejohn, Thomas Ristenpart, Gianluca Stringhini

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


    We argue that existing security, privacy, and antiabuse protections fail to address the growing threat of online hate and harassment. In order for our community to understand and address this gap, we propose a taxonomy for reasoning about online hate and harassment. Our taxonomy draws on over 150 interdisciplinary research papers that cover disparate threats ranging from intimate partner violence to coordinated mobs. In the process, we identify seven classes of attacks - such as toxic content and surveillance - that each stem from different attacker capabilities and intents. We also provide longitudinal evidence from a three-year survey that hate and harassment is a pervasive, growing experience for online users, particularly for at-risk communities like young adults and people who identify as LGBTQ+. Responding to each class of hate and harassment requires a unique strategy and we highlight five such potential research directions that ultimately empower individuals, communities, and platforms to do so.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationProceedings - 2021 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, SP 2021
    PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
    Number of pages21
    ISBN (Electronic)9781728189345
    StatePublished - May 2021
    Event42nd IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, SP 2021 - Virtual, San Francisco, United States
    Duration: May 24 2021May 27 2021

    Publication series

    NameProceedings - IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy
    ISSN (Print)1081-6011


    Conference42nd IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, SP 2021
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    CityVirtual, San Francisco


    • At-risk
    • Emerging-threats
    • Harassment
    • Hate

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
    • Software
    • Computer Networks and Communications


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