Young people exposed to ‘widespread’ anti-Semitism on social media, report finds


Anti-Semitism is “rampant” on social media, with young people being introduced to hateful content through platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, according to a new study.

A report by the Hope Not Hate campaign group found that anti-Semitism is commonly and widely spread through online conspiracy theories, with a major spike during the pandemic.

He revealed that Google is looking for an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that claims that a secret global elite controls world events peaked in 15 years in March 2020, while a forum on the Reddit bulletin board site dedicated to conspiracies , many of which contain anti-Semitic tropes, increased by 500,000 users between February and November 2020.

The research, titled Anti-Semitism in the Digital Age: Anti-Semitic Hate Online, Holocaust Denial, Conspiracy Ideologies and Terrorism in Europe, found the most extreme and violent anti-Semitic content to be found on more specialized platforms. such as Telegram, Parler and 4chan. .

However, he warned that potentially millions of young people are being introduced to conspiracy theories and anti-Semitism via Instagram and TikTok, where Hope Hot Hate said the theories were also rife.

The research was carried out in collaboration with the Germany-based anti-hate group the Amadeu Antonio Foundation and the Swedish anti-hate group the Expo Foundation.

According to the report, there are “millions” of results for hashtags related to anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on Instagram, while on TikTok, a collection of just three hashtags related to anti-Semitism has been viewed over 25 million times in six months.

The study found that nearly 70% of global Instagram users are between 13 and 34 years old, while 69% of TikTok users are between 16 and 24 years old.

“It is simply astonishing that despite 10 years of attempts to stamp out hate speech, we were able to find anti-Semitism on all the social media platforms we investigated,” said Joe Mulhall, manager. of Hope Not Hate’s research.

“As social media companies struggle to pull themselves together, a new generation of social media users have been introduced to anti-Semitic ideas they likely wouldn’t encounter elsewhere.

“The reality is that a lack of action by technology platforms has not only introduced people to hate speech, but has now created online spaces where anti-Semitism is allowed to flourish with tragic and lasting effects, leaving them Jewish communities at risk of terrorism.

“Enough is enough. Now is the time for us to make a firm commitment to ban and moderate all forms of anti-Semitism and hate speech in the tech industry.

In response, a spokesperson for the Facebook company said, “Anti-Semitism is totally unacceptable and we don’t allow it anywhere on Instagram.

“We have always suppressed attacks against people because of their religion, and last year we made important updates to our policies, to remove any content that denies or distorts the Holocaust, as well as more implicit hate speech, such as harmful stereotypes that Jewish people control the world.

“We will continue to work with partners like Hope Not Hate, while developing new ways to remove hateful content and block harmful hashtags faster. “

In a statement, a spokesperson for TikTok said, “TikTok condemns anti-Semitism and we are working aggressively to combat hate by proactively removing accounts and content that violate our policies and redirecting research from hateful ideologies towards our community rules.

“We will continue to strengthen our tools for combating anti-Semitic content and look forward to the opportunity to work with Hope Not Hate, as we are already doing with many others around the world, to understand changing trends and help us regularly assess and improve our enforcement policies and processes. . “

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