Nov 14, 2023 – In the wake of the Hamas terror attack on Israel and the subsequent surge in vitriolic antisemitic content across social media platforms, a coalition of academics and other professionals from Israel and beyond has united to confront this pressing issue. The open letter, denouncing the alarming global uptick in antisemitism on social media, has been earnestly dispatched to influential figures, including Mark Zuckerberg (Meta, Facebook), Adam Mosseri (Instagram), Elon Musk (X), Linda Yaccarino (X), Neal Mohan (YouTube), Shou Zi Chew (TikTok), Pavel Durov (Telegram), Ryan Roslansky (LinkedIn), and Satya Nadella (Microsoft).
Link to the letter: https://acrobat.adobe.com/id/urn:aaid:sc:AP:a1261a25-0dec-421d-a0ba-97900161bfdf
The horrifying events of October 7th and the response from Israel have given rise to a dangerous wave of antisemitic content on various social media platforms. This content includes the veneration of Hitler and the Holocaust, calls for violence against Jewish people, and the use of genocidal slogans such as “from the river to the sea.” This surge in antisemitic online content not only contributes to the spread of hate but also supports the normalization and legitimization of antisemitism globally.
The concerns extend beyond the digital realm, as there have been reports of physical attacks and threats against Jewish individuals, synagogues, cemeteries, schools, residences, and businesses. The situation has escalated to the point where Israel has issued a rare warning, advising its citizens to travel abroad cautiously and conceal their Jewish and Israeli identity.
This rise in antisemitic events is not only a concern for the Jewish community but for global society as a whole. Recognizing the role of social media platforms in shaping the informational landscape and the public discourse, the group urges leaders of these platforms to take immediate and decisive action. The group, consisting of individuals dedicated to human rights and the interplay of technology, society, law, and ethics, puts forth the following recommendations:
Public Commitment: Social media platforms are urged to publicly emphasize their unwavering commitment to fighting antisemitic content.
Robust Content Moderation: Ensure existing content moderation mechanisms are robust and effective in tackling the current antisemitic emergency. Evaluate human and technological resources dedicated to fighting antisemitism and revise policies to address current expressions of hate.
Collaboration and Research: Implement technological solutions, research, and knowledge-sharing mechanisms in collaboration with existing networking initiatives. Cooperate closely with civil society organizations dedicated to eliminating antisemitic content.
Accountability and Transparency: Demonstrate accountability and transparency in combating antisemitism. Publish and share data on affected content, provide reasons and grievance mechanisms for content limitations, and allow public oversight of these processes.
The group firmly rejects all forms of hateful content targeting any population and advocates for the implementation of these suggestions to combat hate comprehensively.
For leaders of the world’s most popular social media platforms, the responsibility to prevent the virality of antisemitic content is not only of a legal nature but a moral imperative. The urgency of addressing this issue has sharpened in recent weeks, and the global community is watching.