More than 130 organizations, many of them Jewish, submitted a letter to Facebook, urging the social-media company to implement a comprehensive hate-speech policy on anti-Semitism that incorporates the widely accepted International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism.
Community standards on Facebook and other social-media platforms have been criticized for failing to address the growing threat as online anti-Semitism has spiked in recent years.
Peter Stern, Facebook’s director of content policy stakeholder engagement, shared in a webcast last May that Facebook did not have a robust policy aimed at combating online anti-Semitism. While he described the usefulness of the IHRA working definition, he acknowledged that the company did not fully embrace it.
Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg publicly committed in June to revising the company’s policies to fight hate speech.
Organizations joining this call to action include StopAntisemitism.org, Zachor Legal Institute, NGO Monitor, Honest Reporting, United with Israel, Zionist Organization for America, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, National Council of Young Israel, Haym Salomon Center, Endowment for Middle East Truth, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, Jewish War Veterans, Israel Christian Nexus, Eagles’ Wings, Philos Project, Hasbara Fellowships and National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.
The letter follows the findings and recommendations outlined in a report titled “The New Antisemites,” which documents how the global rise in anti-Semitism has been driven by social media. The report, presented by StopAntisemitism.org and Zachor Legal Institute last December, has been endorsed by more than 60 American NGOs.
“Today’s anti-Semitism is particularly potent online,” according to Zachor Legal Institute president Marc Greendorfer in a statement.
“Hate speech and hate crimes are highly correlated,” he said. “Social-media platforms must assume responsibility to protect users and combat this inciteful hatred. There is no free pass to amplifying anti-Semitism. We’re not just fighting hate speech; we’re fighting for peoples’ safety.”
“By not having a clear definition and guidelines as to what constitutes anti-Semitism, Facebook isn’t the socially responsible company that it claims to be and makes it clear that Jew-hatred doesn’t matter to them,” United with Israel’s digital media director, Elisheva Aarons, told World Israel News.
“We are demanding that the platform do its part to make Facebook safe for their Jewish users and adopt the recognized definition of anti-Semitism,” Aarons said.