Tag Archives: online

Half world’s population online by end of 2016

By the end of 2016, almost half of the world’s population will be online as mobile networks grow and prices fall, but their numbers will remain concentrated in the developed world, a United Nations agency said.

In the world’s developed countries about 80 percent of the population use the internet. But only about 40 percent in developing countries and less than 15 percent in less-developed countries are online, according to a report by the U.N.’s International Telecommunications Union.

In several of Africa’s poorer and more fragile countries, only one person in 10 is on the internet. The offline population is female, elderly, less educated, poorer and lives in rural areas, said the union, a specialized agency for information and communication technologies.

Globally, 47 percent of the world’s population is online, still far short of a U.N. target of 60 percent by 2020. Some 3.9 billion people, more than half the world’s population, are not. ITU expects 3.5 billion people to have access by the end of this year.

“In 2016, people no longer go online, they are online. The spread of 3G and 4G networks across the world had brought the internet to more and more people,” the report said.

Telecoms and internet companies are expanding as more affordable smartphones encourage consumers to browse the internet, causing demand to grow for data-heavy services. However, less-developed countries – LDCs – still trail the rest of the world.

“Internet penetration levels in LDCs today have reached the level enjoyed by developed countries in 1998, suggesting that the LDCs are lagging nearly 20 years behind the developed countries,” the report said.

It blamed the cost of services and of extending infrastructure to rural and remote customers and the high price of mobile cellular use.

TripAdvisor says it’s taking a stand on animal exploitation

TripAdvisor says it’s taking a stand against animal exploitation by no longer selling bookings to attractions where travelers can make physical contact with captive wild animals or endangered species.

The policy, six months in the making, was formed with input from tourism, animal welfare and conservation groups including the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, but many of the millions of travelers who post reviews to the company’s website have been concerned about animal welfare for years, company spokesman Brian Hoyt said.

The company, based in Needham, Massachusetts, also will start providing links on its site to take users to educational research on animal welfare and conservation.

“TripAdvisor’s new booking policy and education effort is designed as a means to do our part in helping improve the health and safety standards of animals, especially in markets with limited regulatory protections,” said Stephen Kaufer, TripAdvisor’s president.

But the president of the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums said she was “disappointed” TripAdvisor never consulted her Virginia-based organization, whose members include branches of the SeaWorld and Six Flags theme parks and dozens of other marine life parks, aquariums and zoos internationally.

“It’s an unjust demonization of the interactive programs that are at the heart of modern zoo and aquarium programs,” president Kathleen Dezio said. “They give guests the magic, memorable experiences that make them want to care about these animals and protect them in the wild.”

The TripAdvisor policy, announced Tuesday, is in line with increasing public sentiment against the exploitation of wild animals to entertain people. SeaWorld this year announced it would stop using killer whales for theatrical performances, while Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus last year stopped using elephants.

TripAdvisor will cease booking some attractions immediately, but the policy, which may affect hundreds of businesses, takes full effect early next year.

In announcing the policy, which also applies to the affiliated Viator booking website, TripAdvisor specifically mentioned elephant rides, swim-with-the-dolphins programs and tiger petting.

Several U.S. businesses that offer such attractions did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The policy does not apply to horseback rides and children’s petting areas with domesticated animals. It also exempts attractions such as aquarium touch pools where there are educational benefits and visitors are professionally supervised.

TripAdvisor won’t bar user reviews of tourist attractions, even those it stops booking. The company has long banned reviews of businesses that use animals for blood sport, including bullfights.

A San Francisco-based travel analyst, Henry Harteveldt, said because TripAdvisor is so widely used the wildlife attractions could see a noticeable hit to their business.

However, if TripAdvisor merely stops selling the tickets but continues listing the attractions, he said, the effect won’t be long-lasting. He said those attractions may just go through other booking websites to sell tickets.

TripAdvisor said if a wildlife attraction changes its business model it would consider selling tickets again.


Nugs.net offers concert experience outside the arenas

Bruce Springsteen’s generous gesture to snowbound followers this winter was the first time many music fans became aware of Nugs.net, a website that offers concert experiences to those who can’t make it to the arena.

Phish, Metallica and Pearl Jam also sell recordings of their shows through Nugs.net.

The website’s emergence illustrates the growing importance of the live music industry at a time recording sales have sharply fallen, giving acts with strong live reputations a new revenue stream.

“As the future unfolds, I think every touring act is going to have to do something along these lines,” said Marc Reiter, who manages Metallica and Red Hot Chili Peppers at Q Prime.

The website’s roots date back to the 1990s when two friends who grew up in the Philadelphia area, Brad Serling and Jon Richter, created it to share their recordings of Grateful Dead concerts. They reached out to the band for permission and the response, basically, was “what’s a website?”

By the beginning of the century, their recordings had become so popular that the band’s lawyers gave them two choices: shut it down or go into business together. Serling worked briefly for the Dead.

Nugs officially became a business when the men offered copies of Phish’s 2002 New Year’s Eve concert for sale. As its only client at the time, the site grossed more than a million dollars.

“That’s when we knew we were on to something,” Richter said.

Nugs has expanded to stream audio and video of live shows on a pay-per-view basis; Metallica streamed a concert through the site the night before the Super Bowl. For a monthly or yearly subscription, Nugs also grants unlimited access to a library of more than 10,000 shows.

Springsteen offered a free concert recording for a limited time after he had to postpone a New York City show due to snow. More than 100,000 copies were downloaded. His concert downloads generally cost $9.95, with CD copies $23 and audiophile options also available.

The top eight sellers listed on Nugnugsnets.net last week were from Springsteen’s current “River” tour.

The jam band community is big on Nugs because its acts view each concert as a unique experience. A band that follows the same setlist every night, hitting precise cues for dancers and lights, isn’t made for Nugs. The acts must be confident enough to sell all their shows without editing, even on lousy nights.

If something is held back, fans notice and conspiracy theories begin.

“Sometimes I can be somewhat hesitant,” admitted Aron Magner, keyboard player for Disco Biscuits. “The segues don’t go as planned or there was a wrong note, or a series of wrong notes. But that’s what this genre is all about. It’s walking on a tightrope without a net. Everyone understands that and it’s part of the fun of it. You don’t get these amazing moments unless you are willing to jump off a cliff.”

If Springsteen hadn’t spent time surfing YouTube and come across snippets of his concerts with terrible sound quality, he might not have reached out to Nugs, Serling said.

The recordings come from a mix of a band’s sound board at a show and from the venue itself, a combination that promotes clarity and avoids sterility. Nugs sells recordings through their acts’ website and on their own, trying to make it an easy experience for the musicians. Financial details of the arrangements aren’t released.

Take away the recording costs, and it’s essentially found money _ a way to profit from a concert outside of ticket sales. It’s primarily a service for the die-hard fan: Springsteen offers a discount to fans who purchase every single show of the “River” tour.

“Our fans are both loyal and rabid and have always been voracious to devour as much content as we are willing to deliver,” Magner said. As Disco Biscuit members get older, they don’t tour as much, he said. Nugs offers them a way to stay in touch.

The recordings sell at a consistent level, he said. “But if there is a specific show that rises above (the norm), the word will spread pretty quickly,” he said.

Reiter said that for the bands he manages, Nugs has been great service to their most loyal fans. “It has been better than we ever thought,” he said.

Serling hosts a show on SiriusXM radio, featuring both archival material and concert recordings from the previous week. The Nugs founders are looking to expand into more musical styles, like country or electronic dance music.

“A majority of the artists we work with have a family business around them,” Serling said. “If you’re not just a one-hit wonder, if you have a live concert following, then we are right for you.”

Bradley footage winds up in an outside group’s political ad

AP reports

Outside groups have started pumping money into Wisconsin’s Supreme Court race.

The conservative Wisconsin Alliance for Reform has spent at least $234,660 on a statewide ad buy supporting Justice Rebecca Bradley, according to research released by Justice at Stake and the Brennan Center for Justice.

The group’s ad for Bradley raises questions about whether she broke her pledge not to coordinate with such groups, even though it’s legal. The ad used footage identical to that featured by Bradley on her YouTube channel on Jan. 21.

The ad makes no mention of her opponents, Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Joe Donald and 4th District Court of Appeals Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg. It doesn’t press for viewers to vote for or against Bradley, instead calling her fair and measured. The upload, entitled “Rebecca Bradley: A Day in the Life,” has no dialogue.

Since the ad doesn’t specifically call for anyone’s election or defeat, it qualifies as issue advocacy. The state Supreme Court ruled last summer — weeks before Republican Gov. Scott Walker appointed Bradley to the court — that candidates can coordinate with outside groups on such communications. But Bradley pledged in October she wouldn’t coordinate with independent groups, although she added that she wouldn’t ask them to stay out of her race.

Luke Martz, Bradley’s campaign manager, said in an email that the footage the campaign uploaded to YouTube is in the public domain and the campaign has no problem with any independent group using it to “continue to showcase a positive message.”

Wisconsin Alliance for Reform spokesman Chris Martin said in a telephone interview that the group used publicly available footage. No one told the group the footage was out there, he added.

A supporter and donor of Walker, Bradley is a former president of the Milwaukee chapter of the Federalist Society, a far-right libertarian lawyers group. She’s also belonged to the Thomas Moore Society, a conservative Catholic legal group, and the Republican National Lawyers Association.

She began her legal career protecting corporations from liability lawsuits and doctors from malpractice suits.

The liberal group One Wisconsin Now said its research shows Wisconsin Alliance for Reform has spent closer to $400,000 on ads. OWN deputy director Mike Browne said the group queried every Wisconsin television station and cable system. He said OWN didn’t search for groups supporting Bradley’s opponents.

Justice at Stake spokeswoman Laurie Kinney said outside spending in state Supreme Court races sullies perceptions about justices’ impartiality and makes them seem beholden to groups that support them.

“If you have a justice who arrives on the bench courtesy of millions of dollars of spending by an outside interest group, what is the effect going to be on that person’s professional performance?” Kinney said. “It’s deleterious to the administration of justice.”

Wisconsin Alliance for Reform describes itself on its website as a “coalition of concerned citizens and community leaders committed to creating greater economic opportunities for Wisconsin families.”

Asked why the group had chosen to back Bradley, spokesman Martin said by email that she embodies the leadership and courage the group expects from justices.

Walker appointed Bradley, who has only about four years of experience on the bench, to every judicial position that she’s held.

Despite a lack of experience, Bradley was so certain Walker would appoint her to the high court that she registered a website as a justice before the applications were even due. That suggests a crony-style inside track on the job rather than anything resembling leadership and courage. 

“The Bradley campaign and the Republican Party are essentially one and the same,” said a statement from Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Joe Donald’s campaign manager, Andy Suchorski, at the time of Bradley’s appointment.

More outside spending looks to be on the way.

Scott Manley, a lobbyist for Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the state’s largest business group and a staunch Republican ally, told the Wisconsin State Journal in March that the group planned to get involved in the race. The group spent nearly $2 million on ads supporting conservatives David Prosser and Patience Roggensack, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. The group spent nothing to help Daley.

As many candidates have, Bradley has benefited from outside spending in the past. The conservative Wisconsin Club for Growth spent $167,000 in Bradley’s race to retain her appointed seat on the Milwaukee County Circuit Court in 2013. 

On the Web

Responses to questionnaires sent to the three candidates for Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice are online at the League of Women Voters’ national voter guide website — www.vote411.org. The candidates’ responses, along with local primary race information, also can be found on the League of Women Voters of Dane County site at lwvdanecounty.org.

National database of pets in shelters is online: Shelter Animals Count

Millions of dogs and cats end up in animal shelters or rescues every year, but there are no comprehensive statistics on how many, how they got there, if they were adopted, if a rescue saved them or if their time ran out and they were euthanized. But a new website is aiming to remedy the lack of data.

Animal welfare workers talked about creating a database for years. Now, four years after the work began, “Shelter Animals Count: The National Database Project” is online.

When enough information is input, “we should have a sense of how dogs and cats move in and out of these rescues and shelters that are dedicated to their care,” said Jodi Lytle Buckman, board chair for Shelter Animals Count. Data organization is modeled on the U.S. Census, so comparisons will be possible at the county level, she said.

Until now, individual agencies have used estimates when statistics were needed. As a result, figures often varied from group to group and state to state. Even the precise number of shelters and rescues is not known.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, often cited by The Associated Press, estimates there are 13,600 shelters across the country taking in 7.6 million companion animals a year. Of those, 2.7 million are euthanized, 2.7 million are adopted and 649,000 are returned to their owners (with the other 1.5 million including animals besides cats and dogs, feral animals and other categories).

For every dog or cat relinquished to a shelter by an owner, two strays were brought in, according to ASPCA estimates.

Rescues are usually dedicated to saving one breed and can be operated out of a home, so they are even harder to count than shelters, which are most often run by counties or cities.

The new database at www.shelteranimalscount.org is incorporated as an independent non-profit. Two employees will be hired, one to look at the data and one to recruit shelters and rescues to sign up.

“This database is precisely what the animal welfare world needs to guide good decision-making and help enable a greater understanding of the issues facing rescues and shelters in this country,” Buckman said.

The database is funded entirely through grants from board members. Board members include: Animal Assistance Foundation; Animal Humane Society in Minnesota; the ASPCA; Association of Shelter Veterinarians; Best Friends Animal Society; Humane Society of the Pike’s Peak Region; The Humane Society of the United States; Maddie’s Fund; National Animal Care & Control Association; National Council on Pet Population; Petco Foundation; PetSmart Charities; Society of Animal Welfare Administrators; University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine; University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine; and Wisconsin Humane Society. 

YouTube top-earning celebrity: PewDiePie

YouTube’s top-earning celebrity is a 25-year-old videogame-playing jokester who took in $12 million over the past year.

Forbes magazine says Felix Kjellberg, better known by his handle “PewDiePie,” tops its list of people who have spun short online videos into huge piles of cash. 

YouTube stars make money mainly by getting paid to interact with products on their channels and sharing ad revenue with YouTube. Some also star in movies or cut endorsement deals. They’re a hit with younger audiences and brands trying to reach the next generation of consumers.

Two acts tied for second on Forbes’ list, both earning $8.5 million: comedy prankster duo Smosh — Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla —and the Fine Brothers, Benny and Rafi Fine.

The rainbow and beyond: WiG’s annual LGBT Quiz

For the June 1978 Gay Freedom Day Parade in San Francisco, 30 people came together to hand-dye two rainbow-striped flags.

Some six months later, rainbow flags flew again in San Francisco, in the vigils that followed the assassination of openly gay Supervisor Harvey Milk.

Today, the rainbow flag is known worldwide as a symbol of LGBT Pride. The flags flap in our parades, stick to our bumpers, tattoo our biceps and adorn our storefronts. We march behind the flag at city halls, capitols and courthouses. We rally under the flag at victory parties and vigils.

WiG’s annual LGBT pop quiz tests your knowledge of all-things-rainbow. Well, some-things-rainbow. 

1. This island resort community installed a permanent rainbow-colored crosswalk to celebrate LGBT Pride and salute diversity.

A. Provincetown, Massachusetts

B. Hilton Head, South Carolina

C. Mackinac Island, Michigan

D. Key West, Florida

2. “Over the Rainbow” had an introductory verse that Judy Garland did not sing in The Wizard of Oz. True or false?

3. This country singer-songwriter said, “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” Won’t you always love her?

4. The current LGBT rainbow Pride flag contains how many colors?

A. 6

B. 8

C. 9

D. 15

5. Who designed the LGBT Rainbow flag?

A. Ginger Baker

B. Harvey Milk

C. Gilbert Baker

D. Yves Saint Laurent

6. The first LGBT rainbow Pride flag contained a pink stripe that symbolized sex. However, hot pink wasn’t as available so the color was removed. True or false?

7. She once said, “When I die I have visions of fags singing ‘Over the Rainbow’ and the flag at Fire Island being flown at half mast.” When she died, Fire Island homes were reportedly draped in black.

8. Benjamin Franklin proposed that a rainbow flag be used to signify neutral ships in times of war. True or false?

9. The colors in the LGBT rainbow Pride flag are symbolic. Red is for life, for instance. What does purple symbolize?

10. Rainbows caused by sunlight always appear in the section of sky directly opposite the sun. True or false?

11. In a double rainbow, a second arc is seen outside the primary arc and the order of colors is the same, with the red on the outer side of the arc. True or false?


1: D. 

2: True. It began, “When all the world is a hopeless jumble and the raindrops tumble all around, Heaven opens a magic lane.”

3: Dolly Parton.

4: A. The first version of the flag contained eight stripes.

5: C. San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker in 1978.

6: True.

7: Judy Garland.

8: False. But Thomas Paine made such a proposal.

9: Spirit.

10: True.

11: False. The colors are reversed and red is on the inner side of the arc.

Notalone.gov to assist campus rape survivors

Want to know whether there’s been a history of sexual assaults on your college campus? The Obama administration has created a new website that will post enforcement actions it’s taken against schools and provide information for survivors on where to go for help.

A White House task force on sexual assault recommended actions this week that colleges and universities should take to protect survivors and inform the public about the magnitude of the problem, such as identifying confidential victim’s advocates and conducting surveys to better gauge the frequency of sexual assault on their campuses.

The recommendations stem from a 90-day review by the task force that President Barack Obama created after his administration heard complaints about the poor treatment of campus rape victims and the hidden nature of such crimes.

The task force also promised greater transparency. A new website, notalone.gov, will post enforcement actions and offers information to victims about how to seek local help and information about filing a complaint.

“Colleges and universities can no longer turn a blind eye or pretend that rape and sexual assault doesn’t occur on their campus,” Vice President Joe Biden said in announcing the results of the task force’s work.

Advocates praised the rare, high-profile attention being given to the issue, even as they acknowledged that much of the action required will still need to come from college administrators.

Lisa Maatz, vice president for government affairs with the American Association of University Women, said the “smart schools” will take the recommendations and adopt them.

Rory Gerberg, a graduate student and advocate at Harvard University, said that while the task force recommendations will play a central role in determining how universities deal with sexual assaults, they only go so far.

“As students, it will be our responsibility to put pressure on our university administrations to ensure these recommendations are put into practice,” Gerberg said.

Molly Corbett Broad, president of the American Council on Education, said her organization representing college and university presidents welcomed the chance to collaborate with the government on handling sexual assaults, “which the task force notes is a `complicated, multidimensional problem with no easy or quick solutions.”

Eileen Wilson-Oyelaran, president at Kalamazoo College in Michigan and the immediate past chair of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, said there’s room for improvement in how college campuses and communities handle sexual assault cases. She said college presidents will have to review the recommendations to determine what works best in their particular situation.

“If you ask a president what keeps them up at night, more than anything it’s the safety of our students,” Wilson-Oyelaran said.

On the same day, the Education Department issued “questions and answers” that spelled out to colleges and universities and K-12 schools how to handle circumstances under Title IX, which prohibits gender discrimination at schools that receive federal funds. The 1972 Title IX law is better known for guaranteeing girls equal access to sports, but it also regulates institutions’ handling of sexual violence and increasingly is being used by victims who say their school failed to protect them.

Among the directives:

– A victim’s sexual history cannot be brought up in a judicial hearing unless it involves the alleged perpetrator and that those working in on-campus sexual assault centers can generally talk to a survivor in confidence.

– A school is required to process complaints of alleged sexual violence that happened off campus to determine whether it occurred in the context of an education-related activity.

– In a K-12 setting, when a school learns that a teacher or other employee has sexually harassed a student, it is responsible for taking “prompt and effective” steps.

– Straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students are all protected and a school must resolve “same sex” violence in the same way it does for all such complaints.

In its report, the task force said the Justice Department will help develop training programs in trauma care for college officers and assess different models for schools to use to adjudicate such cases, since some sexual assault survivors are wary of a legal process that can expose them to potentially painful or embarrassing questions by students or staff.

While 1 in 5 female students is assaulted, the White House said the review was also about protecting male victims and engaging men in discussions about preventing such assaults. Research has shown that most campus sexual assault victims know their attackers, alcohol or drugs are often involved and only 12 percent of college women attacked report it to police.

Tax Day trouble? LGBT Bar Association offers online help for same-sex couples

The National LGBT Bar Association, BNY Mellon and White & Case LLP have announced a first of its kind Online LGBT Tax Resource — at LGBTBar.org/tax — to help same-sex couples and their tax advisors navigate state tax laws.

The resource is a tool for both tax preparers and payers, providing a comprehensive, state-by-state list of reporting regulations for LGBT couples.

Tax law remains one of the most complex and nuanced issues impacting the LGBT community, especially in states where couples are not allowed to file married tax returns.

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision invalidating the federal Defense of Marriage Act, married couples are now eligible to file married federal returns. In 33 states, however, those same couples cannot file joint state returns. In response, the Online LGBT Tax Resource was developed to ensure families are equipped with the most up-to-date tax information for their home state.

“The end of the federal Defense of Marriage Act was a giant step forward for couples, but state laws continue to legally discriminate against many families,” said D’Arcy Kemnitz, executive director of the LGBT Bar. “The Online LGBT Tax Resource unveiled today will ensure couples can maximize state tax laws, and the repeal of DOMA, as they navigate what is often a very confusing area for LGBT families. The Resource is designed to ensure they, and their tax preparers and attorneys, have reliable, trustworthy information.”

Among the information provided on the site, are key areas such as:

• A recap of states’ rules concerning same-sex marriage and the impact on state income tax in clear and concise language

• Individual state guidance for married same-sex taxpayers

• Information on litigation, and legislation, that could impact LGBT tax law; and

• Up-to-date information from states’ departments of revenue, and state constitutions.

“In states that don’t recognize same-sex marriage, same-sex couples and their tax preparers are struggling to make sense of how to apply the federal tax guidelines based on the ruling last year that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional,” said John Lillis, a tax partner with White & Case, who worked on the project pro bono. “This database is an important tool to help tax preparers and same-sex couples navigate the inconsistent rule that applies to state income tax laws.”

“Working collaboratively with the LGBT Bar Association, Pro Bono lawyers from BNY Mellon and White & Case have created an online resource to help same-sex couples reduce the complexity of tax laws. BNY Mellon’s pro bono team reflects our uncompromising commitment to diversity and inclusion as a core business issue,” said Deborah Kaye, managing director and senior managing counsel, BNY Mellon.

The Resource presents the many state-level regulations in easily understandable language. The site, which will be updated quarterly with any new developments impacting tax laws for LGBT couples, provides the only inclusive, accurate listing of filing regulations in all 50 states. 

Poll: ‘Just kidding’ doesn’t make online slurs OK

In a shift in attitude, most young Americans now say it’s wrong to use racist or sexist slurs online, even if you’re just kidding. But when they see them, they don’t take much personal offense.

A majority of teens and young adults who use the Internet say they at least sometimes see derogatory words and images targeting various groups. They often dismiss that stuff as just joking around, not meant to be hurtful, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and MTV.

Americans ages 14 to 24 say people who are overweight are the most frequent target, followed by gay people. Next in line for online abuse: blacks and women.

“I see things like that all the time,” says Vito Calli, 15, Pennsylvania. “It doesn’t really bother me unless they’re meaning it to offend me personally.”

Even then he tries to brush it off.

Calli, whose family emigrated from Argentina, says people tease him online with jokes about Hispanics, but “you can’t let those things get to you.”

He’s typical of many young people surveyed. The majority say they aren’t very offended by slurs in social media or cellphone text messages — even such inflammatory terms as “bitch” or “fag” or the racist N-word.

Yet like Calli, most think using language that insults a group of people is wrong. The high school sophomore says he has tried, with difficulty, to break his habit of calling anything uncool “gay” or “retarded.”

Compared with an AP-MTV poll two years ago, young people today are more disapproving of using slurs online.

Nearly 6 in 10 say using discriminatory words or images isn’t all right, even as a joke. Only about half were so disapproving in 2011.

Now, a bare majority say it’s wrong to use slurs even among friends who know you don’t mean it. In the previous poll, most young people said that was OK.

But the number of people who say they’ve come across slurs online has held steady. More than half of young users of YouTube, Facebook and gaming communities such as Xbox Live and Steam say they sometimes or often encounter biased messages on those platforms.

Why do people post or text that stuff? To be funny, according to most young people who see it. Another big reason: to be cool. Less than a third said a major reason people use slurs is because they actually harbor hateful feelings toward the groups they are maligning.

Some slurs are taken more seriously than others. Racial insults are not that likely to be seen as hurtful, yet a strong majority of those surveyed — 6 in 10 — felt comments and images targeting transgender people or Muslims are.

Almost as likely to be viewed as mean-spirited are slurs against gays, lesbians and bisexual people, and those aimed at people who are overweight.

Maria Caprigno, who has struggled with obesity since childhood, said seeing mean images on Facebook stings. But she thinks the online world reflects the rest of U.S. society.

“It’s still socially acceptable to comment on someone’s weight and what someone is eating,” said Caprigno, 18, of Massachusetts.

In the poll, young people said they were less likely to ask someone to stop using hurtful language on a social networking site than face to face.

Alexandria Washington, a 22-year-old graduate student from California, said she’s accustomed to seeing men who wouldn’t say offensive things to her in person post pictures of “half-naked women in sexual positions,” followed by demeaning comments and slurs like “whore” and “ratchet.”

Context is crucial, too. Demeaned groups sometimes reclaim slurs as a way of stripping the words of their power — like the feminist “Bitch” magazine or gay rights activists chanting “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it!”

Jeffrey Bakken, 23, a producer at a video game company in Chicago, said the bad stuff online, especially slurs posted anonymously, shouldn’t overshadow what he sees as the younger generation’s stronger commitment to equal rights for minorities and gays than its elders.

“Kids were horrible before the Internet existed,” Bakken said. “It’s just that now it’s more accessible to the public eye.”

The AP-NORC Center/MTV poll was conducted online Sept. 27–Oct. 7 among a random national sample of 1,297 people between the ages of 14 and 24. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. Funding for the study was provided by MTV as part of “A Thin Line” campaign to stop digital abuse.

The survey was conducted by GfK using KnowledgePanel, a probability-based online panel. Respondents are recruited randomly using traditional telephone and mail sampling methods. People selected who had no Internet access were given it for free.