LONDON: More than 80 percent of antisemitic posts on social media platforms stay online despite being reported, a large-scale study by the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) has found.
The social media posts reported included holocaust denial content, incitement of violence against Jews and other conspiracy theories. Despite being flagged to content moderators, the large majority of posts remained online.
The study, published on Aug. 1, took place over a period between May 28 and June 29 this year.
It identified 714 antisemitic posts across major platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok, and subsequently reported the content to the respective sites. These 714 posts were viewed at least 7.3 million times.
Six weeks later, the study found that more than 80 percent of the reported posts remained on the platforms. On Facebook and Twitter, 90 percent of antisemitic posts were not taken down.
The most significant finding of the study was that platforms failed to remove 89 percent of antisemitic conspiracies, with just 5 percent of posts blaming Jewish people for the coronavirus pandemic being removed by moderators.
Twitter hashtags that remained online ranged from “#holohoax” to “#killthejews,” while TikTok continued to allow hashtags that organized and promoted conspiracies, such as “#synagogueofsatan,” “#rothschildfamily” and “#soros.” These posts gained a total of 25.1 million views on the platform.
CEO of CCDH Imran Ahmed said that the findings of the study prove that social media is a “safe space for racists to normalize their conspiracies and hateful rhetoric without fear of consequences.”
The findings come in light of the UK government’s Online Safety Bill, which aims to regulate social media. The legislation will make it a legal requirement for social media companies to protect users from harm, including misinformation, abuse and hatred.
The bill will also force tech giants to impose age checks to prevent underage children from accessing their services.
“These reports do not account for the fact that we have taken action on 15 times the amount of hate speech since 2017,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “The prevalence of hate speech is decreasing on our platform and, of the hate speech we remove, 97 percent was found before someone reported it.”
Meanwhile, Twitter was more forthcoming about taking responsibility and recognized that there was more work to be done. “We strongly condemn antisemitism,” a Twitter spokesperson said. “We’re working to make Twitter a safer place, and improving the speed and scale of our rule enforcement is a top priority.”
TikTok released a similar statement and condemned antisemitism.