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New Microsoft research indicates online civility is on the mend

Emoji Faces
Emoji Faces (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • In 2021, Microsoft revealed that online civility was not in a good place.
  • Now, the situation is improving, with new research indicating that online civility is the best it's been since 2016.
  • Teen boys, in particular, reported a decrease in harassment.

It's a mean world out there. And, in a lot of cases, it's even meaner online, wherein people don the mask of anonymity and get to work bullying each other and generally making life as miserable as possible. But according to Microsoft, the volume of online suffering has seen a decrease this year, helping online civility stats see their best figures since 2016.

A year ago, polling results indicated that the pandemic-ravaged planet we all live on was getting markedly less civil. Now, findings point in a different direction: Things are more civil than they've been since 2016. According to the latest Digital Civility Index (DCI) score, this year has nabbed a 65%, which is a 2% jump from the dark days of 2020.

However, feelings of civility and safety vary depending on who you are. As stated by Microsoft, "perceptions of online safety vary by gender, with females experiencing greater negative interactions."

This year, teen boys and males led the uptick in civility findings, with boys, in particular, reporting a 5% decrease in trolling and unwanted sexting. Meanwhile, teen girls and women had the opposite experience. Microsoft says women had to deal with nearly 60% of all reported civility and safety risks in 2021.

Microsoft Dci Findings

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

For anyone in need of advice on how to improve the DCI numbers of future years, Microsoft gives these four pointers: Live the Golden Rule, respect differences, pause before replying, and stand up for yourself and others. Microsoft's 2021 Council for Digital Good also created a civility manifesto in the form of song lyrics, which can be read via the hyperlink up above.

This is far from the only research Microsoft does. It recently confirmed the world's work environment has changed since the pandemic, as well as that human beings need breaks from work.

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to robert.carnevale@futurenet.com.

4 Comments
  • Interesting stuff, even if we need to take the data with a grain of salt. I wonder if blocking (by admins) and muting (by users) behavior has changed. Also: US election in November. It's just a matter of time before things heat up again. And (I almost don't want to say this) can you imagine if there's a new, nasty Covid-19 variant on the horizon?
  • You million bill gates hundreds of millions on influencing newspapers and fact checkers to conclude how he wants people to think (or get cancelled) means people are more civil? No, people are being censored by unelected anonymous people following someone’s agenda. I mean they censored factual
    information by the British Medical Journal one of the most respected publications on the planet. Humans should stop revelling in cancelling people. It will end in a bad place.
  • That's just you being paranoid. Really, really paranoid.
  • One need only look at apps like Whisper to see how civil the world is.