Social media platforms spewed more than 382,000 anti-Semitic posts over the course of 2016 – an average of more than 43.6 posts per hour, or one post every 83 seconds, according to research by the World Jewish Congress (WJC). Sixty-three percent of all the anti-Semitic content found a megaphone on Twitter.
“We knew that anti-Semitism online was on the rise, but the numbers revealed in this report give us concrete data as to how alarming the situation really is,” World Jewish Congress CEO Robert Singer said in a statement. “We hope this serves as a wake-up call to all internet forums to maintain moral standards, rid themselves of offensive content, and make the digital world a safer place for all.”
The WJC research analyzed tens of millions of posts in 20 languages on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, blogs and other forums. After Twitter, the highest number of anti-Semitic posts online can be found on blogs, at 16 percent. Eleven percent of anti-Semitic content online was posted to Facebook, followed by Instagram with 6 percent, YouTube with 2 percent, and 2 percent on other forums.
The criteria used to determine whether a post was anti-Semitic was based on International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)’s May 2016 definition that “anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews.
The group’s analysis comes after more than 100 Jewish institutions across the U.S. received bomb threats this year alone, as Breitbart News reported.
In Europe, top executives from the UK arms of Facebook, Twitter, and Google recently appeared in front of the Home Affairs Select Committee and were grilled about an apparent failure to tackle hate speech in general and anti-Semitism in particular on their respective platforms.
Breitbart News reported that the committee directed most of their scrutiny towards Google in regards to videos posted on YouTube that are “peddling hate,” according to Labour MP Chuka Umunna.
Focusing on videos uploaded by the ex-KKK leader David Duke and the now proscribed extremist organization National Action, Umunna accused Peter Barron, the vice president of communications and public affairs at Google Europe of profiting off of these videos, along with allowing the individuals themselves to make money as well.
“Your operating profit in 2016 was $30.4 billion. Now, there are not many business activities that somebody openly would have to come and admit… that they are making money and people who use their platform are making money out of hate,” Umunna said. “You, as an outfit, are not working nearly hard enough to deal with this.”
The full WJC report and a detailed analysis will be released on April 25, at the World Jewish Congress’ Plenary Assembly.
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