Wiesenthal Center Experts Brief Facebook Team on Growing Threats from Online Hate and Terrorism

Palo Alto
April 6, 2011

Experts from the Simon Wiesenthal Center gave a 2-hour briefing to Facebook officials this week, detailing disturbing trends in online hate.

“The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Digital Terrorism and Hate Project is currently monitoring over 14,000 problematic sites, blogs, forums and social network pages,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who is a pioneer in the issue of online hate. “Over the past few years we have had an ongoing dialogue with Facebook, but recent trends have been especially worrying. In 2011, we are seeing increased targeting of religious minorities here and abroad and reflected in the expanded use of social networking by terrorists and bigots to recruit young people and spread their hateful and dangerous agendas,” he added.

“In our presentation to Facebook we presented a detailed overview of how social networking is increasingly the global online weapon-of-choice of a broad range of extremists and terrorists operating in dozens of countries and languages. We are impressed by Facebook’s commitment of human resources and technologies to deal with online bigotry, terrorism, and cyber-bullying.

While we don’t agree with every decision that Facebook makes, the online social networking leader has removed thousands of hate and terror-related pages in multiple languages that the Wiesenthal Center has submitted. We were impressed by the people from Facebook both here in the US and in Europe dedicating their expertise to thwarting online bigotry. They reflect Facebook’s increasing commitment to deal with this unprecedented and growing global challenge. We hope that other Internet giants will do likewise,” Cooper concluded.

For more information, please contact the Center's Public Relations Department, 310-553-9036, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter page or mobile device.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400.000 members. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, the OAS and the Latin American Parliament.