• Social media apps. (pixabay)Source: pixabay
More than a third of Indigenous people have been the victim of direct racism online while the majority have seen perils of sharing their culture on social media, a new national report reveals.
Christine McGinn

6 Apr 2018 - 11:34 AM  UPDATED 6 Apr 2018 - 11:35 AM

The majority of Indigenous people using social media reported being selective about what they posted on social media for fear others would hit back with racism or violence, the Social Media Mob: Being Indigenous Online report has found.

A Penrith woman is one of the 88 per cent of respondents who had seen racism towards Indigenous people online.

"The comment section of a news article on Aboriginal people is the worst. Massive stereotyping of Aboriginal people. Racist memes being shared. YouTube videos taken without permission of Aboriginal people," she said.

Yet another person said it was a "good medium to fight racism", the report states.

Indigenous voices are speaking loudly on social media but racism endures
ANALYSIS: A new report has been released, detailing the habits of Indigenous Australians on social media.

Other respondents saw social media as a "new meeting place" and provided a fresh way to practice and pass on cultural knowledge.

It was also seen as an effective platform to seek help and could be used to develop culturally appropriate suicide interventions and prevention programs.

The report focused on six key areas: Indigenous identities, online communities, practising culture, racism and violence, help-seeking, and political activism.

"Indigenous people must navigate many different tensions between the benefits and dangers of social media," report co-author Professor Bronwyn Carlson said.

More than 130 participants from across Australia took part in interviews, surveys and discussions conducted by Prof Bronwyn Carlson and Ryan Frazer for the Australian Research Council-funded report.

Participants mostly identified as being Aboriginal while some also identified as Torres Strait Islander.


  • 71 per cent of Indigenous Australians said social media was a good platform for learning about and engaging in cultural practices
  • 64 per cent expressed concern about sharing Indigenous culture on social media
  • 88 per cent had seen racism towards indigenous people on social media.
  • 21 per cent had received threats of violence from other social media users.
  • 48 per cent indicated social media made them feel more likely to be able to identify someone at risk of self-harm or suicide.
  • 79 per cent were politically active online.

Source: Social Media Mob: Being Indigenous Online report


Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact:

Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Local Aboriginal Medical Service details available from www.bettertoknow.org.au/AMS