Israeli tech warriors code a solution to fight online antisemitism

Israeli tech company and volunteer movement collaborate to develop algorithm combating online antisemitism, enabling more efficient monitoring and reporting of offensive content.

 The team fighting online antisemitism with Fighting Online Antisemitism (FOA) (photo credit: CODE FOR ISRAEL)
The team fighting online antisemitism with Fighting Online Antisemitism (FOA)
(photo credit: CODE FOR ISRAEL)

In an unprecedented collaboration between Code for Israel, a volunteer movement dedicated to Israeli high-tech endeavors, and Final, an Israeli technology company, the employees of Final have voluntarily devised a specialized algorithm for the non-profit organization Fighting Online Antisemitism (FOA).

Utilizing an external interface facilitated by Cyabra, a counter-disinformation company that uncovers threats across social media platforms, the innovative algorithm enables efficient and instantaneous monitoring of anti-Semitic expressions within the network, thereby enhancing the capacity to report and remove such posts.

Presently, the algorithm is being implemented within FOA's systems, empowering its trained volunteers to monitor, report, and eliminate nearly tenfold more instances of online antisemitism. This distinctive system automatically aggregates content through an external interface, and leveraging the power of artificial intelligence (AI), each post undergoes assessment to determine its degree of anti-Semitic potential.

The content identified as most heavily influenced by anti-Semitism is then transmitted to FOA's Israeli and international volunteers for further examination, subsequently prompting them to report the offensive content to various social media networks, including Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram, accompanied by an urgent request for its removal.

As a consequence of this algorithmic innovation, volunteers gain access to a greater number of posts in less time, heightening their ability to report offensive content. Ultimately, the system will provide insights into the actual percentage of platforms from which content has been eradicated, information that will be shared with social platforms, researchers, and the wider public.

 Online antisemitism ''punch card'' used for tracking (credit: CODE FOR ISRAEL)
Online antisemitism ''punch card'' used for tracking (credit: CODE FOR ISRAEL)

What is Code for Israel?

Code for Israel stands as the foremost tech-for-good volunteer organization within Israel. This movement unites entrepreneurs, engineers, product experts, UX/UI designers, and data enthusiasts who pool their expertise to address critical challenges faced by Israeli society.

The undertaking at hand represents one of 40 additional projects aimed at resolving profound societal issues within the domains of health, education, welfare, the environment, and beyond. Yasmin Lukatz, founder and chairman of Code for Israel, remarks, "As the volunteer movement of the Israeli tech industry, we bear the responsibility of leveraging innovative ideas emanating from Israel to support Israelis and Jews worldwide.

While hatred and antisemitism have persisted throughout history, today's technology allows their rapid and effortless dissemination. We are elated at the opportunity to collaborate with this exceptional group of professionals, harnessing this technological leap for the greater good and confronting this challenge to provide support for Israelis and Jews globally."

Fighting Online Antisemitism (FOA) stands as an Israeli-based non-governmental organization devoted to combatting antisemitism through volunteer training, reporting instances of antisemitic content on social media, and raising awareness about the scourge of cyber hate. Since its establishment in 2020, FOA has trained over 400 international volunteers who actively monitor antisemitic content in multiple languages across ten leading social media platforms.

Tomer Aldubi, founder and CEO of FOA, states, "The integration of cutting-edge technology with our team of trained volunteers represents the most effective means of addressing the issue of online antisemitism. FOA's daily monitoring efforts have now been enhanced by incorporating advanced technology developed over the course of three years.
This new technology affords us the capability to verify and identify online content on a large scale and with remarkable speed. We extend our utmost appreciation to Code for Israel and Final for their invaluable contributions, and we call upon other Israeli high-tech companies to join the battle to safeguard Jewish lives both in Israel and abroad."

Final is widely recognized as a global leader in the field of high-frequency trading (HFT), where technology facilitates swift decision-making within vast databases. Approximately 20 researchers, software engineers, and technologists actively participated in the development of this product on a completely voluntary basis.

Boaz Bash, CEO of Final, affirms, "As an integral part of the Israeli community, we invest substantial efforts and resources in generating a positive and substantial impact on our surroundings. Our collaboration with Code for Israel has provided us with an opportunity to leverage the professional abilities of Final's employees for the advancement of an essential social objective that resonates with us all. We extend our gratitude to the movement fighting online antisemitism for embarking on this shared path, and we thank Code for Israel for the platform, guidance, and professionalism they have provided."