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UNESCO, UN Report: Social Media Platforms Play Vital Role in Countering Online Hate


NEW YORK – Reducing the vast number of Holocaust denials and distortions online requires effective action by social media platforms, according to a first of its kind report released today by UNESCO and the United Nations Department of Global Communications, in partnership with the World Jewish Congress.

The study, titled “History Under Attack: Holocaust Denial and Distortion on Social Media,” specifically examines platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, Twitter and TikTok and provides recommendations for academic resources and content moderation standards. improved for governments, online platforms, educators. and scholars to fight denial and distortion, prevent anti-Semitism and defend human rights.

“As Holocaust deniers become more sophisticated, so do those who fight against this evil,” WJC President Ronald S. Lauder said of the report based on the data. “WJC looks forward to continuing to support the United Nations and UNESCO in their international efforts in Holocaust education and the fight against anti-Semitism.”

Platforms that moderate content and provide reliable information on the topic have a greater impact on solving the problem, the study showed.

About half of Holocaust-related content on Telegram, which is not moderated, has denied or misrepresented its story, according to extensive expert review. For Holocaust-related posts on moderate platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, 10% and 15%, respectively, included denial or distortion.

For the report, nearly 4,000 Holocaust-related content, including posts and memes glorifying Nazi atrocities and shedding light on their destruction of Jewish communities in Europe during World War II, was collected in June and July 2021 from five major online platforms. The content was then manually analyzed by experts from the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford in English, French, German and Spanish.

“Understanding the history of the Holocaust is crucial to safeguarding our future,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres wrote in the foreword to the report. “If we fail to identify and confront the lies and inhumanity that fueled past atrocities, we are ill-prepared to prevent them in the future.”

The UN chief added: “This report is an urgent wake-up call that must spur us to action – to seek truth, memory and education, and build together a world of peace, dignity. and justice for all”.

Echoing these words, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said: “The report reveals that there are still social networks where Holocaust denial and distortion spread unchecked, and that this content is used to fuel hate. We can fight against these phenomena by acting on content and raising awareness among users.

She added: “But we cannot rely solely on the voluntary participation of platforms: we also need common principles and guidelines.”

WJC has partnerships with Facebook and TikTok; both platforms launched features encouraging users searching for Holocaust-related keywords to learn more by visiting the WJC and UNESCO site AboutHolocaust.orgdeveloped to present basic facts about the destruction of European Jewry by the Nazis and their collaborators during World War II.

The site, now available in 19 languages, has around 15,000 daily users. The total number of users exceeds 1 million.

“The WJC will continue to seek additional partnerships with social media companies to strengthen the global effort against anti-Semitism online,” said Yfat Barak-Cheney, WJC Director of International Affairs and Human Rights, who provided comments for the report with WJC representative Leon Saltiel. at the United Nations Office in Geneva and coordinator of UNESCO and the CJM for the fight against anti-Semitism.

To view the report, go to here.

About the World Jewish Congress

The World Jewish Congress (WJC) is the international organization representing Jewish communities in 100 countries to governments, parliaments and international organizations.

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