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Spread the word, a new solution is in the pipeline!

Last week an Israeli student, Ido Daniel, held Facebook to account by challenging a Facebook representative at a conference over Facebook’s rejection of his complaint of outrageous antisemitic content.  We can’t all have our rejected reports held up in front of Facebook and demand an explanation… but soon that will change.

In March 2014 we’ll will release a new online platform that will hold Facebook  accountable in an exciting new way. We are have hit the tipping point where the project will now definitely go ahead. The platform will allow the worst examples, reported by the public, to be showcased and the platforms shamed when it refuses to take action. We’ll also gain insight into just how many of those serious complaints, like Ido’s, are being wrongly rejected.

To make this work, we need a ground swell of support, people willing to take a few minutes to report content outside of Facebook. We need your support to raise awareness so we know we can proceed.

How you can help:

  1. Read the articles below and tell people about this
  2. Forward this e-mail / share it on social media (post the link at the top right  that says “View this email in your browser”)
  3. Know people who report hate? Ask them to join us + Facebook
  4. With 7 days to go, please continue to share the campaign & donate so we get more types of content covered in the March release of the online platform
Thank you all for your amazing support, we’re about to change the game and we’re excited to have you on board as part of the team. :)Andre Oboler
CEO, Online Andre Prevention Institute
Table of Contents
1) Time for a new solution – changes are coming to the fight against hate
2) Ido’s article – how one Israeli student help Facebook accountable
3) An Important Win – Campaign to remove “The Untold History” a success!

Time for a New Solution

Last week Israeli Student Ido Daniel attended a meeting of international civil rights organisations fighting cyberhate. A representative from Facebook also attended the meeting. Ido stood up and asked Facebook the question we have all been thinking. “Why does Facebook pointedly ignore reports of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial on its own website?”

Ido then did something we all wish we could do. He looked up some content he had complained about, where Facebook had rejected his complaint, and he asked the Facebook representative to “please explain”. The post was extreme. It asked “Do you know how dangerous the Jews are? How much power they have in banks, governments and food industry? People of satanic rituals, pedophiles, rapists and murderers, sacrifices of non-Jews victims for Passover,” and it went on. The Facebook representative’s reply, as Ido wrote in Jerusalem Post (also below), was that “Facebook’s policy allows content of Holocaust denial because it is a legitimate historical debate.”

In his article Ido goes on to discuss some of our work at the Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI). I coined the term “antisemitism 2.0” in 2008 to describe the problem of antisemitism in social media. At the time major organisations will still focused on website and bulletin boards, they had missed the emerging threat from social media. Since that time I have continued to work at the leading edge of this fight against online hate in social media. The report Ido wrote about in his article is almost a year old now and remains the most comprehensive report on antisemitism on Facebook, and the only one to systematically examine the way Facebook fails to understand antisemitism, from Holocaust denial to the protocols of the Elders of Zion and modern replications of official Nazi propaganda.

The approach of professional organisations scouring the internet and collecting data is no longer viable – the internet these days is just far too large. The approach of “cooperating with platforms providers” and trusting them as gate keepers is clearly not working. For one thing, the more controversy they generate, the more views they get, and the more advertising revenue they make. Such cooperation only provides them with political cover. The only solution that is left is people power.

This is why I’ve been working, since 2008, to develop a solution to the problem of antisemitism in social media. The solution and the problem are related. The problem is a proliferation of people spreading hate. The solution is proliferation of people reporting hate. Reporting it to Facebook clearly isn’t working though. We need something different. We need a way to bring people together. We need the numbers and the examples so we can hold Facebook accountable – like Ido did – but collectively and at the marco level. We need to allow users to not only report hate, but also help assess the reports of others. We need online training so people can learn to do this well. We need effective quality control mechanisms so the system is effective and can’t be gamed.

At the Online Hate Prevention Institute, we’ve designed such as system. We’re ready to start building it. It will take time and significant funding, but we’re ready to start. We need a tiny fraction of the overall budget to get started and we’ve been raising this through crowd funding and with the support of the ROI Community. With the support of the public, of people like you, we have raised 45% of our target. That puts us passed a tipping point, and we can now go ahead with the development whether or not we reach our goal. The closer to goal we get, the more types of content the system will be able to handle. Our aim is to have a basic system up and running by March.

The campaign has one week to go. Can you help us spread the word? Can you contribute (it doesn’t matter how much)? Will you pass this e-mail on to someone else? Most importantly, will you be a part of this? A solution to online hate has already taken too long. Let’s get real. Together we can make this happen.

Training session OHPI provided to the Student for Israel in Tel Aviv earlier this year

Click LIKE Holocaust Denial

By Ido Daniel, Jerusalem Post, 30, October 2013

Our message to Facebook should be clear – if you’re not taking it down, you’re endorsing it. If you’re endorsing it, you’ll be held accountable.

The annual conference of INACH-International Network Against CyberHate, an international umbrella organization which brings together NGOs involved in the combat against cyber-hate directed at minorities, was held last week in one of Uppsala University’s halls in Sweden.

The meetings weren’t supposed to make headlines. However, the speakers, all representatives of respected organizations, began weaving a disturbing cross-sector picture regarding the dimensions of hatred being spread on the Internet.

Students from France and Sweden told how it is to get up every morning and find dozens of hate messages and death threats in their Facebook inbox.

Reports from other parts of the world revealed what was already known: Facebook is becoming a hothouse of incitement against ethnic and religious groups, women, homosexuals and others.

For example, in the Netherlands there’s a Facebook page calling to “Gas the Gypsies” which is operated undisturbed.

During all the sessions, there was one woman who sat and listened impassively to these remarks. She is the person responsible in part for the user policy of the popular social network.

She later explained the company’s strict principles regarding the manifestations of hate and incitement, and the need to protect Facebook’s users.

Facebook’s anti-hate “reporting wars” are well known. No Jew or Israeli has not encountered this anti-Semitic phenomena and tried to report it, only to encounter a virtual brick wall, since such things don’t violate Facebook’s user policy.

When it was time to take questions from the crowed I got up and asked the Facebook rep a simple question: Why does Facebook pointedly ignore reports of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial on its own website? As an example I started reading out loud a random post Facebook refused to remove a few days ago claiming it didn’t “violate the community standard on hate speech”: “Do you know how dangerous the Jews are? How much power they have in banks, governments and food industry? People of satanic rituals, pedophiles, rapists and murderers, sacrifices of non-Jews victims for Passover,” etc.

Further, the poster has also written a well-known Holocaust denial argument, which states that the Jews sacrificed the Holocaust victims during WWII in order to get global sympathy.

The woman’s reply shocked the crowd: “Facebook’s policy allows content of Holocaust denial because it is a legitimate historical debate.”

Since I was still holding the microphone, I displayed on my tablet screen one of the vilest images on Facebook, comparing Auschwitz children with Palestinian workers at a checkpoint.

“Does this one look legitimate as well?” I yelled at her.

In recent report, The Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI) situated in Australia confirmed that Facebook has become the main distribution method for anti-Semitic incitement and racism worldwide.

To add to the embarrassment, OHPI stated that Facebook does not really understand anti-Semitism and has trouble recognizing some very wellknown types of it. The result is tens of thousands of pages and profiles daily spread even greater amount of disturbing hate speech.

Under the guise of Facebook’s policy and atmosphere, no wonder that the very existence of Nazi death camps and gas chambers has become a “legitimate academic discussion.”

However, Facebook will soon discover that choosing to ignore this can cost it dearly. A few days ago hundreds of people gathered outside the company’s headquarters in Palo Alto, California, to demand a strong and uniform policy against anti-Semitism being distributed on the social network.

Last year, The Union of Jewish Students in France took Twitter to court in a lawsuit worth $50 million that stunned the new-media world. The reason: allowing anti-Semitic incitement against the French Jews under the hashtag #UnBonJuif (“A good Jew”).

The union retracted the suit after Twitter agreed to transfer to the French government personal details of the agitators.

A few months later France witnessed what happens when hate is pumped out of computer screens when a terrorist attacked a school in Toulouse, killing Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, his two oldest children Aryeh and Gabriel, and eight-year-old Miriam Monsonego.

During the murders, the terrorist wore a webcam so he could publish the videos online.

Our message to Facebook should be clear – if you’re not taking it down, you’re endorsing it. If you’re endorsing it, you’ll be held accountable.

Recent history has proven that hate does not stay on computer monitors, but goes out and collects its human victims. Not-so-distant history teaches how indifference to hatred can cause catastrophe.

The author is the Program Coordinator of the Students Combating Online Anti-Semitism Program in The National Union of Israeli Students.

Source: Ido Daniel, “Click LIKE Holocaust Denial“, Jerusalem Post 30, October 2013

On October 29th, after over two months of campaigning by OHPI and others, this Holocaust denial page “The Untold History” was finally closed for good. This has been confirmed in the Facebook Support Dashboard. This follows the Administrator closing the page temporarily earlier this month, only to return with 22 new antisemitic pages they created in “retaliation” for Facebook terminating some of their accounts. If you haven’t see the hate Facebook spent two months refusing to remove, see it here.
The success of this campaign was also discussed at the Jerusalem Post by OHPI’s CEO in an article highlighting the important global contribution to the fight against antisemitism that is coming out of Australia. Read it here.
Copyright © 2013 Online Hate Prevention Institute, All rights reserved.