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‘Safe’ Anti-Semitism on Social Media Platforms Like Instagram and TikTok, Research Finds | Scientific and technological news

Anti-Semitism is “rampant” on social media, with young people exposed to hateful content through platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, according to a new study.

A report by the Hope Not Hate campaign group found that anti-Semitism is widespread thanks to an increase in online conspiracy theories, which have increased during the pandemic.

Google is researching a conspiracy theory that claims that a covert global elite controls world events peaked in 15 years in March 2020.

And a forum on the Reddit bulletin board site dedicated to conspiracies, many of which contain anti-Semitic tropes, grew by 500,000 users between February and November 2020.

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The research, titled Anti-semitism in the Digital Age: Online Antisemitic Hate, Holocaust Denial, Conspiracy Ideologies and Terrorism in Europe, found the most extreme and violent content to be found on more specialized platforms such as Telegram, Parler, and 4chan.

However, he warned that potentially millions of young people are also introduced to conspiracy theories and anti-Semitism via Instagram and TikTok, where Hope Hot Hate said such content is also prevalent.

It comes as social media companies increasingly call on social media companies to do more to tackle abuse, such as racist messages against footballers and celebrity targeting.

The new research was carried out in collaboration with the Germany-based anti-hate group, the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, and the Swedish anti-hate group, the Expo Foundation.

According to the report, there are “millions” of results for hashtags related to anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on Instagram. On TikTok, a collection of just three hashtags related to anti-Semitism has been viewed more than 25 million times in six months.

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The study found that nearly 70% of Instagram users worldwide are between 13 and 34 years old, while 69% of TikTok users are between 16 and 24 years old.

Hope Not Hate’s head of research Joe Mulhall said it was “just astonishing” that the group was able to “find anti-Semitism on all of the social media platforms we investigated” afterwards. ” 10 years of attempts to eradicate hate speech “.

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“As social media companies struggle to pull themselves together, a new generation of social media users have been introduced to anti-Semitic ideas that they likely would not encounter elsewhere,” Mr. Mulhall said.

“The reality is that a lack of action by technology platforms has not only introduced people to hate speech, but has now created online spaces where anti-Semitism is allowed to flourish with tragic and lasting effects, leaving them Jewish communities at risk of terrorism.

” Enough is enough. Now is the time for us to see a strong commitment to ban and moderate all forms of anti-Semitism and hate speech in the tech industry. “

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In response, a spokesperson for the Facebook company said, “Anti-Semitism is totally unacceptable and we don’t allow it anywhere on Instagram.

“We have always suppressed attacks against people because of their religion, and last year we made important updates to our policies, to remove any content that denies or distorts the Holocaust, as well as more implicit hate speech, such as harmful stereotypes that Jewish people control the world.

“We will continue to work with partners like Hope Not Hate, while developing new ways to remove hateful content and block harmful hashtags faster.”

A spokesperson for TikTok said in a statement that the platform condemns anti-Semitism and works “aggressively to combat hate by proactively removing accounts and content that violate our policies and redirecting searches. from hateful ideologies towards our community directives “.

“We will continue to strengthen our tools for combating anti-Semitic content and look forward to the opportunity to work with Hope Not Hate, as we are already doing with many others around the world, to understand changing trends and help us regularly assess and improve our enforcement policies and processes. , they added.

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