The Online Hate Prevention Institute has today released a major new report into antisemitism 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 antisemitic items on Facebook. Some of the items were included in OHPI’s previous report in 2012 into Aboriginal Memes and Online Hate, others are new in 2013. The report shows hwo 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 antisemitism and has trouble recognizing certain very well known types of antisemitism.

The report shows Facebook has difficulty identifying racism directly based on Nazi propaganda; consistently refusing to recognize as hate speech pages promoting the famous antisemitic forgery used to inspire mass killings, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion; and failing to take action on new antisemitism 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.

OHPI’s CEO, Dr Andre Oboler, explains: “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.”

On this International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, OHPI is please to share this important work with the public, disappointed such hate still exists, and hopeful that our recommendation can help make a difference if Facebook chooses to adopt them.
The report and further information is available at: http://ohpi.org.au/recognizing-hate-speech-antisemitism-on-facebook/

ENDS

Notes

The Online Hate Prevention Institute was established in January 2012 as a dedicated organisation to combat online hate and to reduce the emotional and physical harm that such hate can cause. OHPI is incorporated as an Australian Public Company limited by guarantee and had been admitted to the Register of Harm Prevention Charities maintained by the Australian Government.

Dr Oboler is an internationally recognised expert in online hate and social media. He is CEO of the Online Hate Prevention Institute and co-chair of the Online Antisemitism working group of the Global Forum to Combat Antisemitism. He holds a PhD in Computer Science from Lancaster University (UK) and is currently completing a law degree at Monash University (Australia).