Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Study Finds that Twitter is Choice for anti–Semitism on the Web

A study conducted by the Simon Weisenthal Center has determined that Twitter is the most popular social media platform for hate and intolerance

By: Peter Herriman

Published: May 15th, 2014 in Business » World

A study on digital hate and intolerance by the Simon Wiesenthal Center determined that twitter is the “weapon of choice” for anti-Semitism and hate speech on the internet and social media in general.

The center for racism in America and the history of the Holocaust found that hate speech has increased by 30% in the past year on over 30,000 web sites online.

The study commended those top social media sites for removing hate speech and is determined to see if the trends of hate speech will increase or decrease in the coming years.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the assistant dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center stated, “If the world is going to effectively deal with the growing threat from lone wolf terrorists, the leading social media companies, including Facebook, Google, YouTube and Twitter must do more.”

According to the report, Twitter received the worst review by a D grade, and according to Cooper, Twitter has had no interest in dealing with its online hate speech and even terrorist threats. “Twitter hasn’t shown us they have an institutional grasp or commitment of the issue, and that needs to change.”

In relation to terrorism on Twitter, Rabbi Cooper referred to Al-Shabaab, a Somali terrorist organization that live tweeted a terrorist attack in at a mall in Nairobi, Kenya in September 2013. Although Twitter did deactivate the Twitter page of Al-Shabaab, the group quickly created another page to continue hate speech and terrorist threats.

Facebook on the other hand, received a B+ for its strict rules against offensive speech and aggressive enforcement efforts. Facebook’s Community Standards of what type of expression is acceptable states that, “Organizations with a record of terrorist or violent criminal activity are not allowed to maintain a presence on our site.” Facebook’s policy against hate speech states that they do not permit groups to attack others on the basis of “race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition.”

The Russian speaking vk.com received an F grade for its online presence of hate speech in Eastern Europe. Vk.com is the second largest online social media site in Europe after Facebook.

The Wiesenthal Center found a 30% rise in hate speech through social media, but Cooper notes that this survey was limited and is not meant to be an “ultimately definitive” portrayal of all hate speech on the internet completely.

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