Twitter social network with most antisemitic content, survey finds

The study, commissioned by the World Jewish Congress, was conducted throughout 2016.

March 24, 2017 17:30
2 minute read.
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Social media apps Twitter and Facebook [Illustrative]. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Twitter emerged as the social network with the most antisemitic content in a comprehensive analysis of the prevalence on such platforms of expressions of hatred of Jews.

The study, commissioned by the World Jewish Congress, was conducted throughout 2016.

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Nearly two thirds of 382,000 posts deemed antisemitic in the World Jewish Congress study appeared on Twitter, followed by 11 percent that were posted to Facebook, 6 percent on Instagram and 2 percent on YouTube.

The WJC study, performed by the Israeli monitoring firm Vigo Social Intelligence, showed that last year at least 382,000 antisemitic posts in various languages were published on major social networks by users.

The study applied the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism in determining what content to include in the report, the World Jewish Congress wrote in a statement about the report.

“We knew that antisemitism online was on the rise, but the numbers revealed in this report give us concrete data as to how alarming the situation really is,” CEO and Executive Vice President Robert R. Singer said. “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.”

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft in June signed a code of conduct with the European Commission that requires them to delete the majority of reported illegal hate speech within 24 hours.

The signing of the accord was hailed as major progress toward reconciling US-based social networks’ adherence to American legislation despite demands by European governments and judiciaries that the firms limit themselves in Europe to the stricter laws on hate speech applied in much of the continent.

Yet monitor groups have reported failures to comply also after the document’s signing.

Twitter has been particularly reluctant to comply with European legislation.

In 2013 Twitter lost a protracted legal battle in France over its initial refusal to either disclose details of users who made antisemitic statements online or block them for continuing to do so.

The survey’s publication this week coincided with reports in Poland about a desecration of a cemetery of Soviet soldiers in Warsaw by vandals who spray-painted a Star of David emblazoned with a Nazi swastika inside the burial ground. Police are investigating the incident in Warsaw, the news site Ruptfly reported Monday.

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