Friday, February 12, 2021

Israel Urges Social Media Giants to Label “Anti-Semitic” Content

Ministers say companies should flag anti-Jewish posts in the same way they police misinformation about pandemic and elections.

Israeli ministers and lawmakers on presented tech giants Facebook, Google, TikTok and Twitter with proposals to "beef up the fight against anti-Semitism" on social media.

"The companies should institute policies similar to those they employ by labeling misinformation surrounding COVID-19 and the US presidential election", the minister said.

The call came in a policy paper, called "The Hate Factor," formulated by the Strategic Affairs Ministry and Diaspora Affairs Ministry. The paper was presented to a Knesset panel in the presence of representatives of "major social media networks," the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement. The statement did not mention any specific social media companies.

The lawmakers called on companies to outline clear definitions of "hate speech" and adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of anti-Semitism, which includes speech about Israel.

The report said the companies should train content moderators dedicated to labeling anti-Semitic content and putting a stop to the sale of anti-Semitic paraphernalia. It also said the companies should be more transparent with the public about anti-Semitism on their platforms.

Strategic Affairs Minister Michael Biton said: "The Jewish people and the State of Israel are constantly being attacked through incitement, the spreading of misinformation, and outright lies. We have a special interest in taking the initiative on this issue and are holding social media companies accountable to start taking responsibility and act to implement clearer, more effective and transparent policies."

Diaspora Affairs Minister Omer Yankelevich said that "freedom of expression must not protect violent incitement and anti-Semitism. We recognize social media networks are taking on conspiracy theories and making strides towards removing Holocaust denial, both on Facebook and on Amazon. But unfortunately, this is not enough."


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