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Facebook’s Anti-Semitism Problem

March 21, 2013 – 4:26 pm7 Comments
Image: OHPI

Image: OHPI

According to a local watchdog, Facebook has a major anti-Semitism problem.

The Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI) has today released a major new report into anti-Semitism on Facebook to coincide with the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 21st 2013.

The new report tracks the response to a number of anti-Semitic items on Facebook. Some of the items were included in OHPI’s previous report in 2012 into Aboriginal Memes and Online Hate, while others are new in 2013. The report shows how some items are removed by Facebook while others remain online, some for more than 6 months. The report examines what Facebook removes and what sort of content Facebook does not consider hate speech and refuses to remove. The findings show that Facebook does not really understand anti-Semitism and has trouble recognizing certain very well known types of anti-Semitism.

The report shows Facebook has difficulty identifying racism directly based on Nazi propaganda; consistently refusing to recognize as hate speech pages promoting the famous anti-Semitic forgery used to inspire mass killings, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion; and failing to take action on new anti-Semitism which uses Holocaust inversion to paint Israel and Jews as Nazis. These blind spots can be added to the known difficulty Facebook has in recognizing Holocaust denial as Hate Speech.

Dr Andre Oboler, who heads the OHPI, stated that “The items that remain online are there as a result of a deliberate decision by Facebook to dismiss the concerns that have been expressed to them over these items. Having shared an early draft of our new report with Facebook at the start of February, none of the items discussed in this report should take Facebook by surprise. The decision not to take action on certain types of content, like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, is clearly a matter of Facebook policy, and not an isolated mistake by junior staff.”

The full report and further information is available here.


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