Social Media Giants Fail to Curb Online Extremism, Says New SWC Report

Simon Wiesenthal Center
Google/YouTube are under fierce criticism for placing digital ads from major international brands like AT&T and Johnson & Johnson next to extremist videos celebrating terrorist attacks that should never have been allowed on its platform in the first place.
March 30, 2017

The Simon Wiesenthal Center sharply criticized social media giants for not doing enough to degrade online marketing of terrorists and hate groups.

The Center unveiled its annual Social Media Report Card, in New York City and Chicago. The launch focused on the recent deadly attack in London and the online emergence of extremists from the alt-right.
Chicago: Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, holding a copy of Digital Terrorism & Hate 2017 at the Chicago launch of the Report. “As Simon Wiesenthal and others frequently said, ‘For evil to flourish, it only requires good men to do nothing.’ We’re here because we’re doing something. Illinois will not stay silent in the face of hate, bigotry and persecution,” Governor Rauner said, adding, “Illinois is a leader in anti-hate education, and we will work with organizations like the Simon Wiesenthal Center continue to lead by example.”
New York: Rabbi Abraham Cooper, SWC Associate Dean, (left) and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer (at podium), unveiled the SWC 2017 Social Media Report Card.
"Google/YouTube are under fierce criticism for placing digital ads from major international brands like AT&T and Johnson & Johnson next to extremist videos celebrating terrorist attacks that should never have been allowed on its platform in the first place. They earned a grade of a 'C-' on the digital report card for allowing the proliferation of “how to” videos that instruct people on how to build and deploy explosives from materials found in the home. They also earned a 'D' for their failure to remove thousands of hate group postings,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, SWC Associate Dean and Founder of Digital Terrorism & Hate Project.

Other social media giants did not fare much better (See Report Card). Social media apps that provide encryption for users received the lowest grades of all, with terrorists – including the London attacker – using encryption (in this case WhatsApp) to hide their activities from law enforcement and intelligence.

The SWC also announced that it is prepared to train New York City High School students to deal with the tsunami of online hate and bigotry.

The 2017 Digital Terrorism & Hate app is available at the app store, Google Play and at digitalhate.net.

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