Wiesenthal Center Applauds Social Media Giants’ Commitment to Combat Online Hate in Europe

May 31, 2016

Hate is hate: much more still needs to be done to combat online hate in US, not only Europe

The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Digital Terrorism and Hate Project commends today’s announcement that social media giants, including Facebook, Twitter, Google/YouTube, and Microsoft have committed to the European Union to remove “illegal” hate postings from their services within the next 24 hours.

“We applaud today’s important announcement as a significant step in the long struggle to degrade the leveraging of social media platforms by terrorists, their supporters, neo-Nazis, anti-Semites, and other extremists in Europe,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center who has founded and heads the Human Rights NGO's Digital Terrorism and Hate Project for the last two decades.

“However, much more needs to be done by these companies to deal with the unfettered access of extremists to their powerful platforms in the US,” he added. “This includes Twitter shutting down vicious hate hashtags. Twitter allows hate hash-tags that use the “n-word” and threaten Jews, Muslims and other minorities,” Cooper also said, adding, “It is vital that these companies take all necessary steps to strengthen their own Terms Of Use, make them transparent and create the mechanism to deal with the burgeoning problem of online hate in our country.”

Rabbi Cooper also expressed concern that the companies were, in effect deploying on double on dealing with hate, “It appears from today’s announcement that hate postings, for example about the “Big Lie” of the blood libel (that Jews use the blood of Christian children for ritual purposes) would be removed in Germany, but remain untouched if posted through a US server.” He added, “Hate is hate and if a Social media company would remove such postings from its online pages in Germany, it should do the same globally.”

For the last two decades, the Wiesenthal Center's Digital Terrorism and Hate Project has been a trailblazer in exposing, monitoring and combating the abuse of online technologies by extremists of all kinds, in the US and overseas. The Center's annual interactive report has been reviewed by the US Congress and helps train law enforcement, intelligence, and community activists globally. In 2012 the Center introduced a password-sensitive app for law enforcement that enables instant access to our expert researchers. While cyber hate is on the rise, only close to half of this country’s law enforcement agencies have a social media policy, according to a recent police survey. The Simon Wiesenthal Center regularly meets with the leading social media companies and releases an annual report card reflecting the commitment (or lack thereof) of companies to curb online terror and hate.

To access the 2016 Digital Terrorism and Hate Report, click on http://digitalhate.net.

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 feed.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).