Online Holocaust denial and antisemitism nearly tripled in 2022 – report

Social media giants not doing enough to purge antisemitic content, watchdog group warns, noting 180% increase in Holocaust denial and antisemitic content on the internet in 2022.

By World Israel News Staff

According to a report by Fighting Online Antisemitism (FOA), the prevalence of antisemitic, Holocaust-denying, and Israel-hating content on social media has surged by 180% in the past year.

FOA monitored major social networks, including Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, VK, and newer networks like Spotify, LinkedIn, Telegram, and GAB, reporting all instances of antisemitic content in accordance with the definition of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and directly to the networks.

Sixty percent of all flagged posts were found on Twitter, while VK and Facebook followed with 14% and 10%, respectively.

FOA categorized all content into three groups: Holocaust denial, classical antisemitism, and hatred of Israel.

Around 64% of the content was classified as Holocaust denial and classic antisemitism, while 36% was aimed at Israel with calls for the destruction of the State of Israel and the desecration of its flag.

Only 5% of this content was taken down. Approximately 35% of posts were removed, including those containing conspiracy theories about supposed Jewish links to the war in Ukraine and the COVID-19 epidemic.

Barak Aharon, FOA’s director of monitoring, stated that the findings indicate that social media giants are not doing enough to prevent the publication of antisemitic content.

The report called on social networks to adopt an uncompromising policy and actively take steps to prevent the distribution of such content. FOA founder and CEO Tomer Aldubi revealed that the watchdog trained over 200 volunteers over the past year to remove antisemitic content from the internet.

CyberWell, a group that employs AI models to monitor and combat antisemitism online, reported that only 2.3% of antisemitic posts on major social media networks involve calls for or attempts to justify violence against Jews. However, 90% of such posts were found on Twitter, rendering it the most violent network regarding antisemitic content.

All five major networks (TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube) have policies against expressions of antisemitism and Holocaust denial, but there are differences in the extent to which users can access such content.

Facebook denies a user trying to search for Holocaust denial-related expressions and recommends fact-checking, while Twitter imposes zero restrictions on searching for antisemitic content.

Although YouTube also primarily does not restrict searches, it has a more stringent enforcement policy, resulting in minimal results for such searches, with little to no authentic antisemitic content or Holocaust denial material. TikTok prohibits users from searching for Holocaust denial content and displays a message recommending verification of historical facts in both English and Arabic languages.

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The report also highlighted that the types of stereotypes associated with Jewish people vary across social media platforms. On TikTok, Jews are often portrayed as exerting control over the world, while on Twitter, the primary stereotype is that Jews are greedy and obsessed with money.

In October, there was a surge in antisemitic posts on social media, which coincided with rapper Kanye West’s antisemitic remarks.