Measuring the Hate – The state of antisemitism in social media
Holocaust Remembrance Day (January
27th) the Online
Hate Prevention Institute has
released a groundbreaking report “Measuring
the Hate: The State of Antisemitism on Social Media”. The
report tracks over 2000 items of antisemitism reported to Facebook, Twitter and
YouTube. The items were tracked over 10 months and at the end of the period,
only 20 per cent has been removed.
The response by social media platforms is unacceptable given the
a sharp rise in violent hate crimes against Jewish people around the world.
Last year, we saw four French Jews killed in an attack on a Jewish
supermarket, a community security volunteer killed outside a Synagogue in
Denmark, multiple knife attacks on Jews in Israel and a range of other serious
antisemitic incidents. Rampant online antisemitism is also playing a significant
role in self-radicalisation and the spread of violent extremism in parts
of the Arab world and within some Muslim communities.
The new report examines the spread of
antisemitism across Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. It also explores the spread
across four categories of antisemitism. In both cases the removal rates over
time are presented. This report is a world first in empirically examining these
issues and the responses of the world’s three largest social media platforms.
The four categories of antisemitism explored are: the
promotion of violence against Jews; traditional antisemitism such as conspiracy
theories, racial slurs, and accusations such as the blood libel; Holocaust
denial; and New Antisemitism which relates to the State of Israel. Traditional
antisemitism accounted for almost half the items reported.
The report also outlines where each type of antisemitism occurs,
with content promoting violence against Jews far more likely to be found on
Twitter, while content promoting Holocaust denial was most likely to be found
on YouTube. There was also evidence of significant variations in way the social
media companies responded to online antisemitism.
Within each company there was a significant variation depending
on the category of antisemitism. The best response rates came from Facebook
where content promoting violence against Jews showed a 75% chance of eventually
being removed. The worst case was YouTube videos containing New Antisemitism,
that is, antisemitism related to the State of Israel, where only 4% has been
removed after more than 10 months.
Online hate speech is fuelling hate crimes around the world.
Governments are starting to respond to the inadequate response by social media
companies to this problem. Last year, German prosecutors launched a criminal
investigation against senior Facebook executives in response to growing
incitement on the platform against immigrants, and Facebook, Google and Twitter
have since agreed to remove hate speech reported in Germany within 24 hours and
to use the definition of German law rather than their own standards. Facebook
has since announced a one million dollar project to tackle online hate in
Dr Andre Oboler, CEO of the Online Hate Prevention Institute
warned that, “time is running out for social media platforms to improve their
response to the crisis of dangerous content their technology is helping to
spread through society. Governments around the world are demanding better
regulation of hate, incitement and radicalisation material. This report shows
that some platforms are doing more to meet this challenge than others, but all
have a long way to go. The current situation is simply not good enough.”