Women in Pakistan Most Vulnerable to Harassment on Facebook & WhatsApp: Report

The highest number of cases reported on online harassment and misuse of data in Pakistan belonged to Facebook and WhatsApp during the past two years.

The above revelation has surfaced in a report released by the Digital Rights Foundation (DRF). The report includes the compilation of the data collected from the complaints reported on the DRF cyber harassment helpline in the said period.

According to the report’s breakdown, the major platform for online harassment was Facebook. 29 percent of the complaints received were related to Facebook. Furthermore, in a relatively recent development, the helpline also received a number of calls complaining of mobile-based scams on WhatsApp.

The helpline noticed an increase in such cases from 2.6 percent to 9.5 percent in the past six months.


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It also contains recommendations for the concerned authorities to improve their institutional response to online harassment.

Report’s Details

As per the details of the report, the DRF’s helpline (0800-39393) received 2,781 complaints from Dec.1, 2016 to Nov.30, 2018. The average calls received every month were 91.

Out of the total 2,781 calls, 2,190 belonged to first-time callers while 591 were follow-ups, asking for either additional assistance or updates on the status of their case.

As per the data categorization, half of the calls, 57 percent exactly, pertained to the most populous province, Punjab while 18 percent of calls originated from Sindh, 5 percent from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and 2 percent from Balochistan, 1 percent from Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and 5 percent from Islamabad.

Furthermore, 59 percent of the total calls belonged to women while 41 percent calls were from men. Nevertheless, many of the calls from men were to report on behalf of women.

As for age distribution, the majority of the callers were between 21 and 25 years of age.

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