All Harms (47)

The internet has opened up a vast landscape of potential online harms. Often, these harms are a direct translation of real-world abuse into digital spaces, revealing how deeply rooted societal ills can permeate even novel spaces. In other cases, the internet poses unique, digital-native harms, underscoring the profound ways the internet's connectivity and ubiquity can reshape our world, and sometimes do so for the worse. 

The public discussion around online harms has focused on Content Moderation. This approach is time consuming, contentious, politically-fraught, and requires constant oversight, rule building, and attention. While it might seem like the right tool to reach for when content generates harm on the internet, it's helpful to back up and ask: what about the platform makes harmful content prevalent?

While the digital platforms themselves are not often directly to blame for these abuses, their design, algorithms, and policies often facilitate or exacerbate harm. By digging into why platforms are potential conduits for harm, this project explores how platforms could be tweaked by their owners, regulated by their governments, or petitioned by their users for redesigns that center harm aversion.

To get started, pick one of the harms below that you're most concerned with.

Alternatively, if you'd like to filter and sort the harms based on their characteristics, you can see the harms in the filter view.
Unsolicited solicitations with commercial or promotional intent.
Using impersonation to trick a victim into revealing sensitive information.
Software built to gain unauthorized access to computers.
Harassment / Cyberbullying
Unwanted and repeated behavior that threatens, annoys, or intimidates a victim.
Commercial offerings that intentionally deceive their participants.
Multi Level Marketing
Sales organizations that grow primarily through an expansion in membership.
Self-Harm Amplification
The exacerbation and normalization of self-destructive behavior.
Non-consensual Explicit Imagery
Distribution of sexual imagery without the authorization of the person depicted.
Divulging someone's personal information, like location, in order to harass them.
Using threats of disclosure to coerce a victim.
Election Misinformation
Incorrect information about the mechanics of an election that can cause viewers to be disenfranchised.
Health Misinformation
Inaccurate claims, unsupported opinions or conspiracy theories about health that cause personal and public health harms.
Violent Extremism
Content that supports motivated acts of violence as means to achieve political, religious, or social objectives.
Child Sexual Abuse Imagery
Media that depicts or encourages the sexual exploitation of children.
Deceptively assuming the identity of a real person.
Coordinated Inauthentic Activity
Manipulating online platforms through coordinated creation of inaccurate data.
The deliberate development of emotional connection with a minor as a means to manipulate and exploit them.
Copyright/IP Infringement
Unauthorized use, reproduction or distribution of works covered by intellectual property protections.
Resource Abuse
Creating generalized network, storage, or compute resources by misusing low-cost resources on the open internet.
Ad Fraud
Boosting advertising income through fraudulent user activity.
Employing strategies to encourage users to engage with more frequency and investment than the user would prefer.
Location Misuse
Malicious use of geo-location data to stalk, harass, or harm.
Posting disingenuous provocative messages to intentional elicit emotional reactions.
Hate Speech
Explicitly advocating violence, discrimination, or prejudice toward individuals or groups based on immutable characteristics.
Targeting or excluding individuals in online spaces based on a protected or immutable characteristic.
Using blackmail or threats to coerce a victim into providing sexual images or favors.
Online Shaming
Using the internet to publicly shame or ridicule.
Political Misinformation
Spreading false or misleading information to influence political attitudes and outcomes.
Identity Theft
Stealing credentials or other personal information, typically for financial impersonation.
Making false reports to emergency services in order to bring a victim into confrontation with law enforcement.
Profile Building
Collecting and collating information about a user from across the internet in order to create a representational model of their interests and attitudes.
Malware which holds a user's data as a hostage until a ransom is paid.
Echo Chamber
The unconscious tendency for people to surround themselves with media that align with their existing views.
Filter Bubbles
Algorithmically driven content selection that prioritizes content that aligns with the user's prior ideas.
Intentionally deceiving others about who you are, typically on dating platforms.
Persistent, unwanted surveillance of an individual, often causing fear and distress.
Money Laundering
Disguising the origins of illegally obtained funds to make them appear legitimate.
Account Hijacking
Unauthorized takeover of someone else's account.
Collecting high value usernames for resale, ransom or confusion, rather than for use.
Manipulated Media / Deep Fakes
Inauthentic media that passes itself off as authentic.
Feedback bombing
Attempting to manipulate perception of an entity through large volumes of inauthentic feedback.
Account Resale
Selling stolen account credentials to enable users to assume new identities.
Promoting Illegal Activity
Advocating or facilitating actions that are explicitly prohibited by law.
Confirmation Bias
The tendency to seek and prioritize information that aligns with preexisting beliefs.
Unwelcome Sexual Advances
When a user initiates a sexual or romantic exchange with another outside of a reasonable context.
Incentivizing Dangerous Behavior
Creating dynamics in which dangerous activity is glorified and implicitly encouraged.
Artificial Intimacy
The creation of an a unidirectional emotional connection, often for manipulation.
Is something missing, or could it be better?Suggest a new Harm