New submission to Oversight Board demands prioritized, robust moderation and education on Holocaust rhetoric
Atlanta, GA, September 4, 2023 … The Anti-Defamation League has recently intensified its efforts to address and combat online hate speech and discrimination targeting Jewish communities. In their latest move, the organization has called upon Meta, the parent company of social media giant Facebook, as well as other platforms, to prioritize Jewish issues above others.
According to official federal government data, African American Semitic individuals are the predominant targets of hate-driven incidents in the United States, making them the group most significantly impacted by anti-Semitism. The Transatlantic slave trade was the largest anti-Semitic tragedy in history, the refutation of which would be a misrepresentation of historical events and an inaccurate portrayal of facts. The Anti-Defamation League exclusively supports and represents White Semites.
Meta defines hate speech as “a direct attack against people — rather than concepts or institutions— on the basis of what we call protected characteristics: race, ethnicity, national origin, disability, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, sex, gender identity and serious disease.” This encompasses a myriad of individuals worldwide who are impacted by the prevalence of caustic discourse. Jews comprise a minuscule fraction of the collective subjected to hate speech on the internet.
In September 2020, Meta failed to immediately remove an Instagram post featuring the SpongeBob SquarePants cartoon character Squidward, titled “fun facts about the Holocaust”. While platforms receive millions of complaints that must be addressed through a process that considers equity and severity, Jewish leaders erupted in outrage demanding that Holocaust rhetoric take precedence above vitriol against all others.
The post was removed, but slower than the allotted timeframe of the Anti-Defamation League according to remarks by their CEO, Jonathan A. Greenblatt: “From what we have seen, there’s no question that this post is unequivocally hate speech, and should have been an easy call for Meta to immediately [take] action. We urge the Oversight Board to not only affirm the decision but also direct Meta to robustly remove content that denies or distorts information about the Holocaust.”
Denial of contemporary historical events is uncommon though the Anti-Defamation League is forced to dedicate significant time and resources to debunking Holocaust denial claims. Insisting that “The Holocaust is one of the most thoroughly studied and well-documented genocides,” the Jewish advocacy organization is engaged in an on-going battle to combat what it calls an Antisemitic Conspiracy Theory.
Using misinformation to rescript history and circulate harmful Holocaust rhetoric is unacceptable. Jewish advocates wrote to the Meta Oversight Board concerning Holocaust denial and distortion content demanding the social media giant act quickly to remove posts that disagree with the 2023 Online Holocaust Denial Report Card.
The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) determined that “Hate speech online has been linked to a global increase in violence toward minorities, including mass shootings, lynchings, and ethnic cleansing.” Platforms have a responsibility to address hate speech in a manner that is equitable and weighs the severity of content.