Thursday, July 7

Social Media Brings Anti-Semitic Ideas to the New Generation, Report Says | Social media


A new generation of “younger” social media platform users like TikTok are learning anti-Semitic ideas that they are unlikely to find elsewhere, a report warns.

The investigation comes amid warnings that those drawn to conspiracy theories surrounding Covid-19 are at risk of taking anti-Semitic views.

It found that Google searches in the UK for “New World Order” – a conspiracy theory rooted in anti-Semitic tropes, suggesting that a secret global elite is controlling world events – reached its highest level for 15 years in March. from last year.

Analysis by campaign group Hope Not Hate and other organizations also revealed the prevalence of anti-Semitic messages and memes on Instagram, where nearly 70% of global users are between the ages of 13 and 34, and TikTok, where 69% of users They are between 16 and 34 years old. 24 years old.

Millions of results on Instagram for hashtags related to the New World Order and the illuminati They were registered, most of which promoted conspiracy theories, while hashtags that led most directly to anti-Semitic content, such as #JewWorldOrder, remained active.

Joe Mulhall, head of research at Hope Not Hate, said: “The reality is that the inaction of technology platforms has not only introduced people to hate speech, but has now created spaces online where they are allowed to anti-Semitism flourishes with tragic and long lasting effects, leaving Jewish communities exposed to the risk of terrorism. “

The research, titled Anti-Semitism in the Digital Age: Anti-Semitic Hate Online, Holocaust Denial, Conspiracy Ideologies and Terrorism in Europe, It was compiled by Hope Not Hate along with two other anti-racist groups, the Expo Foundation and the Amadeu Antonio Foundation.

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It warns that many anti-Semitic narratives, hashtags, memes, videos, and groups that emerged during the pandemic remain on some platforms and were often “algorithmically amplified” as well.

“Therefore, social media has taken on the role of transmitting anti-Semitic stereotypes to younger user groups,” he added.

Daniel Poohl, CEO of the Expo Foundation, said there were still basic things that most of the featured platforms could do, such as explicitly banning anti-Semitism in their community guidelines and ensuring more moderation of the page.

In other findings, a Reddit forum dedicated to conspiracy theories and featuring anti-Semitic theories such as those depicting Jews as child murderers was seen to grow by 500,000 users between February and November 2020.

On another platform favored by many activist groups and others, Telegram, a channel promoting the New World Order conspiracy theory, as well as Holocaust denial and white nationalist propaganda, has grown by 90,000 followers since its inception in February 2021. .

The findings about anti-Semitism online come against the backdrop of growing concern about its impact on the streets and a series of prosecutions of far-right supporters on terrorism-related charges.

Britain’s Community Security Trust, which helps with the security of the Jewish community, said last month that it had recorded 1,308 incidents of hatred against Jews across the country in the first half of this year, the highest total in the past month. first half of any year.

“Every day we are contacted by Jews who tell us that they are being verbally abused in the streets, that someone has tried to beat them, or that they report incidents such as anti-Semitic graffiti,” added Dave Rich, who provided The Guardian with details of some of the incidents reported this week.

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They included:

Saturday: Two synagogues in London received abusive emails telling them to “go back to Auschwitz.”

Tuesday: Two robberies in London of visibly Jewish people, who were knocked to the ground by different bystanders at random.

Wednesday: A woman in London was walking her son home from school when a man passed by on a bicycle and yelled, “Heil Hitler, you dirty Jew.”

“This is unfortunately quite normal, and the week is not over yet.”

A spokesperson for Facebook, which owns Instagram, said anti-Semitism was completely unacceptable and did not allow it anywhere on Instagram.

“We have always eliminated attacks against people based on 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 the Jews the people control the world ”, they added.

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

A TikTok spokesperson said the company condemned anti-Semitism and worked aggressively to combat hatred by proactively removing accounts and content that violates our policies.

“We will continue to strengthen our tools to combat anti-Semitic content and welcome the opportunity to work with Hope Not Hate, as we already do with many others around the world, to understand evolving trends and to help us periodically assess and improve our policies and processes. of application. . “

Reddit and Telegram have been contacted for comment.

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www.theguardian.com

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