(photo credit: TWITTER)
LONDON – Over two years of behind-the-scenes dialogue has led the social media organization Twitter to establish an online “Safety Center” to tackle Internet abuse, including racism and anti-Semitism.
The Community Security Trust, a British organization which protects and defends the Jewish community from anti-Semitism, played a key role in the development of the new tool, along with a number of other “trusted organizations.”
The social network said that the center will allow anti-Semitism, racism and other forms of abuse to be dealt with more appropriately. A Twitter spokesman said that the Safety Center is based around tools and policies to address users’ safety, with sections created for teens, parents and educators. “The service will help users keep their accounts secure, control what others can see and report tweets that violate Twitter’s terms of service.” Twitter added that it was “a resource for anyone to learn about online safety, on Twitter and beyond.”
“These resources should help you quickly understand how to manage your experience on Twitter and also understand how the community and Twitter take action together when our policies are violated,” the spokesman said.
Dave Rich, CST’s deputy director of communications, told The Jerusalem Post that while they recognize that there is still much progress to be made in the battle to thwart online abuse, “generally speaking, we have definitely seen an improvement in how Twitter handles anti-Semitism since our involvement [with the project].”
CST reported a 118 percent increase in online anti-Semitism in the UK last year.
Patricia Cartes, head of safety at Twitter said it was important for them to “continue to engage with CST to really understand what is happening in the offline world and make sure that our mechanisms are prepared to cope with the increase of reports.” She added that it was “the insight that groups like CST have, that empowers us to make changes and take action.”
On Monday, British Prime Minister David Cameron devoted a section of his speech about tackling extremism and radicalization to criticizing Internet companies for failing to do enough to stop the spread of extremism and hatred online.
Labor MP Louise Ellman, a Jewish parliamentarian who last year was the victim of anti-Semitic online abuse, told the Post that she congratulated the CST for its work in making it easier to challenge anti-Semitism online. “The growing use of social media sites for anti-Semitic and other abuse is a menace. This development should restrict the use of Twitter to fan the flames of prejudice and hatred,” she added.
Last year, party colleague Jewish Liverpool MP Luciana Berger was repeatedly targeted with online anti-Semitic abuse, and called for strong action by social media companies.
Police subsequently arrested a man from the city who was later jailed for sending offensive messages to her.