Tech Elites Join ADL Initiative to Fight Online ‘Hate Speech’

AP Photo/John Locher, File
AP Photo/John Locher, File

Executives from top Silicon Valley companies including Facebook and Reddit have agreed to work with the Anti-Defamation League to develop online “hate speech” guidelines.

USA Today reports that executives from companies such as Facebook and Reddit have agreed to work with the ADL to develop the groups online hate speech guidelines. The ADL’s Center for Technology and Society will be funded mainly by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and will focus on developing strategies for social networks to tackle hate on their platforms.

Brittan Heller, the director of the ADL’s new Center for Technology and Society, claimed, “Now more than ever, as anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism and other discrimination has exploded online, it’s critical that we are bringing the best resources we can amass to this fight.”

$250,000 was donated to the CTS by Pierre Omidyar’s charitable foundation, the Omidyar Network,  and another $1.5 million has been pledged to the center. The center’s mission is to “conduct cutting-edge research, issue reports, convene events, generate public awareness, and educate policymakers about legislation needed to stop cyber hate.”

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt commented on the new initiative in a statement, saying, “Through the center, ADL is taking the fight against hate to the front lines of where it is today,” he continued, “fifty years ago, extremists were hiding behind hoods and burning crosses. Today, they’re hiding behind avatars and burning up Twitter.”

Greenblatt previously directed an initiative at a George Soros-financed, far-left institute and worked for the Obama administration prior to joining the ADL, where he now currently serves as national director and CEO. Greenblatt previously smeared Breitbart News Executive Chairman Steve Bannon as an “anti-semite” but was later disproven by his own organization. Greenblatt described Bannon as “a man who presided over the premier website of the Alt Right, a loose-knit group of white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists.”

In an article titled “Stephen Bannon: Five Things to Know,” the ADL claimed:

  • Bannon has embraced the alt right, a loose network of white nationalists and anti-Semites.
  • Under Bannon, Breitbart published inflammatory pieces about women, Muslims, and other groups.
  • Bannon is a critic of the Republican establishment and the left.
  • Bannon has held a number of positions in his career.
  • We are not aware of any anti-Semitic statements from Bannon.

Breitbart’s Joel Pollak disproved the smears against Bannon in a detailed article. “The first two claims are false. The next two claims are true, and innocuous. The final claim is exculpatory,” stated Pollak. The ADL admitted in its article, “We are not aware of any anti-Semitic statements made by Bannon himself. In fact, Jewish employees of Breitbart have challenged the characterization of him and defended him from charges of anti-Semitism. Some have pointed out that Breitbart Jerusalem was launched during his tenure.”

Pollak further stated in his rebuttal, “Breitbart is not an alt-right publication, and the daily news content of the website speaks for itself. Moreover, there are no ‘white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists’ working at, or published by, Breitbart.”

ADL’s CTS boasts a large number of tech-related board members including Reddit CEO Steve Huffman, Nest founder and chief product officer Matt Rogers, Facebook VP of Product Guy Rosen, Bumble dating app CEO Whitney Wolfe, and former FBI executive assistant director Shawn Henry.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan_ or email him at


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