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People face most harassment on Facebook, says DRF report

People face most harassment on Facebook, says DRF report

The Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) on Tuesday issued a report revealing the data regarding the first four months of operation of its Cyber Harassment Helpline.

According to the report, Facebook is the platform through which individuals faced the highest amount of harassment as the helpline received complains about fake profiles, non-consensual use of information, and blackmailing.

Complaints were also registered regarding unsolicited messages and hacked accounts or devices.

In the first four months since its launch, the helpline, which went live on December 1, received 513 individual complaints.

The complaints were made in the form of calls, emails and Facebook messages, most of which referred to harassment on Facebook.

The report adds that 535 calls were received by the helpline between December 1, 2016, to March 31, 2017, with the highest number of calls attended in January. Sixty-two per cent of the calls made were by women, whereas 37 per cent of the callers were men, it says.

Regarding the volume of male callers, DRF says it is a positive trend, as the non-profit organisation seeks to "encourage men to break stereotypes and open up about their own experiences of harassment."

The report states that nearly 42pc of the cases received by the helpline came from from Punjab. The helpline also got calls from Sindh (17.8pc), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (4.7pc) and Balochistan (1.3pc)

Limited resources available to the Federal Investigation Agency's National Response Centre for Cyber Crimes (NR3C) has lead to delays in registration of cases related to cyber crime, the report highlights.

It recommends that FIA provide gender-sensitisation training to its staff and recruit female investigative officers.

The cyber harassment helpline is the first of its kind in Pakistan providing those facing online harassment “free, safe and confidential” environment to talk and register complaints.

The service aims to provide legal advice, digital security support, psychological counselling and a referral system to victims.

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