Late last week, a coalition of more than 120 advocacy groups and NGOs sent a letter to Facebook calling on the social media giant to implement a comprehensive hate speech policy against anti-Semitism.
The coalition’s central demand is for Facebook to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of anti-Semitism. This definition, used by the U.S. state department and over 40 other countries, is not currently a part of Facebook’s community standards. But with hate speech resurgent around the globe, activists believe that the time is now for the company to strengthen its policies to protect users.
“Today’s anti-Semitism is particularly potent online,” Zachor Legal Institute president Marc Greendorfer said. “Hate speech and hate crimes are highly correlated. Social media platforms must assume responsibility to protect users and combat this inciteful hatred. The volume and velocity at which anti-Semitism grows online require greater responsibility on behalf of the platforms that enable them to spread. There is no free pass to amplifying anti-Semitism. We’re not just fighting hate speech; we’re fighting for people’s safety.”
It’s encouraging that Facebook is receiving this kind of pressure not only from activists, but also advertisers who recently boycotted the platform over its hate speech policies. With enough sustained criticism, hopefully the company is actually pushed to change.
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