Online Hate Prevention Institute, “Online Antisemitism: Meeting the Challenge“, May 11, 2015, The Big Smoke, http://thebigsmoke.com.au/2015/05/11/online-antisemitism-meeting-the-challenge/ 

The Sydney-based online magazine The Big Smoke publishes an article on OHPI’s soon to be released report “Online Antisemitism: Meeting the Challenge”

The OHPI are set to release their report, “Online Antisemitism: Meeting the Challenge,” and the stats show that FightAgainstHate is making a difference in combating online hate.

The attacks on a Jewish supermarket in Paris in January this year and a synagogue in Copenhagen in February have shocked the world. The far right is gaining in popularity in Europe, while the antisemitism flowing out of parts of the Muslim and Arab world is inspiring self-radicalisation and violent extremism. Antisemitism is rising globally and its spread is being facilitated by the Internet, particularly the social media.

The Melbourne-based Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI) has been studying the rise of online antisemitism – amongst other kinds of online hate – since its inception in 2012. Early this year, we embarked on a campaign to gather a large pool of online antisemitic items for the purpose of deconstructing how online antisemitism operates across three of the world’s largest social media: Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Our analysis of over 2000 items of antisemitism collected will be released as a report “Online Antisemitism: Meeting the Challenge” at the 5th Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism on May 12-13, 2015 in Jerusalem.

We collected our data through crowd-sourcing by encouraging people to report items of online antisemitism into OHPI’s online hate reporting toolFightAgainstHate.com. The items were categorised into four types:

  1. Content promoting violence against Jews
  2. Holocaust denial
  3. Traditional antisemitism (for example, conspiracy theories such as blood libel or Jews owning the American media)
  4. New antisemitism (Israel-related antisemitism)

Our report gives a break-down of how the items reported spread across the three social media platforms. It also looks at a breakdown of how the specific categories of antisemitism operated on different social media.

A selection of statistical findings from the report are:

  1. Based on a sample of 2024 unique items of antisemitism from Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, 41% of the antisemitic examples came from YouTube, 36% from Twitter and 23% from Facebook. (See graph 1)
  2. Traditional Antisemitism, that is, antisemitism spreading canards and conspiracy theories about Jews in general was the most prevalent form of antisemitism. (See graph 2)
  3. Our data analysis suggests that the category of “promoting violence against Jews” is most prevalent on Twitter. One of the vilest hashtags to go viral on Twitter during the height of the Israel-Palestine conflict last year was #HitlerWasRight. It was one of the most vocal, public and direct attacks on Jews on Twitter
  4. Data collected by OHPI suggests that the category of “Holocaust Denial” is most prevalent on YouTube.

 

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We also monitored how social media platforms responded to reports of online antisemitism, since the platforms were also removing content as it was being reported to FightAgainstHate.com. Surprisingly, we found Twitter making a sudden effort to remove antisemitic content from the platform. It may have been a part of its recent shift towards tackling abuse on the platform. Our findings suggest that it is working.

The report is not only a sample of what kind of antisemitic content is circulating online, but a preview of the kind of data that can be made available in the future through more sustained engagement with FightAgainstHate.com. We hope that more members of the public, researchers and government agencies use the tool and supporting material to collect and analyse their own data sets on online hate using our system. Such reports can inform their efforts towards removal of online hate content and also for building of online counter speech against such hate.

Towards this end, the report also includes details of campaign resources communities can use to combat online antisemitism. These include a booklet on how to report antisemitism to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and FightAgainstHate.com, information on how to recognise online antisemitism, campaigning material to promote crowd-sourcing of hate, and material on how to use the FightAgainstHate.com system.

Our report will be made available for free upon its release. Below are a few examples of antisemitic content we discuss in our report.

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