Netsafe’s research reveals that seven in 10 adults in New Zealand think that online hate speech is spreading and that a third of personal incidents occurred after March 15.

Online hate speech has been a topic of public concern and research interest for some time. This report presents findings from Netsafe’s 2019 research regarding the personal experiences of adult New Zealanders in relation to online hate speech. The study, is part of a larger project regarding online risks and harm.

Online hate speech affects groups unequally and some people are experiencing serious harm as a result. People can disagree or have an alternate viewpoint online, but when actions become harmful there should be support, resolution and even prosecution options available.

See full New Zealand report

A comparison between NZ, Australia and Britain’s experiences

A new report has been released revealing insights into Australia and Britain’s experience of online hate speech, alongside Netsafe’s local findings. The shared report presents some additional data that wasn’t included in the New Zealand only report.

See full international report



In New Zealand, the Harmful Digital Communications Act tackles some of the ways people use technology to harm others online. This Act aims to prevent and reduce the impact of online bullying, harassment and other forms of abuse and intimidation. It lays out 10 communication principles that guide how to communicate online. When online abuse targets an individual based on their colour, race, ethnic or national origins it is a breach of the 10 Communication Principles. Find out more about how Netsafe can help.

If you are experiencing online abuse or harassment or another online issue, Netsafe has a free helpline to help seven days a week.


  • Overall, 15% of New Zealand adults reported having been personally targeted with online hate speech in the last 12 months.
  • Compared to our 2018 survey, this result is higher by 4 percentage points.
  • Over one third of personal experiences of online hate speech occurred after the Christchurch attacks.
  • Half of Muslim respondents said they were personally targeted with online hate in the last 12 months. Prevalence was also more
    common among Hindus.
  • Similar to 2018, people with disabilities and identifiying as non-heterosexuals were also targeted at higher rates.
  • About 3 in 10 adult New Zealanders say they have seen or encountered online hate speech content that targeted someone else.
  • Nearly 7 in 10 New Zealand adults think that online hate speech is spreading.
  • Over 8 in 10 adults believe that social media platforms should do more to stop online hate speech.
  • While three-quarters would support new legislation to stop online hate, a similar proportion considers that more than that is
    needed to prevent its spread.
  • At the same time, a large majority, 8 in 10, believe that everyone has a role to play in addressing hateful speech.
  • More than half disagreed with the idea that people should be entitled to say whatever they want online. A quarter do not have an

See full report