October 23, 2018

ADL Finds Over 4 Million Anti-Semitic Tweets Posted In A Year

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) released a report on May 7 concluding that 4.2 million anti-Semitic tweets were issued from January 2017-Janury 2018.

By searching key anti-Semitic buzzwords, the ADL was able to find that anti-Semitism on Twitter was broken down into the following categories:

• Harvey Weinstein
• Conspiracy theories involving the Rothschild family, false flags and George Soros
• Holocaust denialism
• Using “Zionism” as a bludgeon to attack Jews

Various anti-Semitic tweets attributed Weinstein’s alleged sexual assaults to his Jewishness, as well as other figures like former Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) who have been accused of sexual harassment.

When it comes to conspiracy theories, a number of anti-Semitic tweets that blame Jews for concocting false flag operations, such as the Las Vegas shooting and the attempted bombing of New York City’s Port Authority Bus Terminal.

The Rothschild banking family has been the subject of many conspiracy theories, most notably that they control the weather; on Twitter they are routinely accused of financing chaos in the world in order to gain wealth, a common anti-Semitic trope.

Soros faces a lot of criticism for his funding of various left-wing causes; such criticisms “sometimes take on an anti-Semitic cast, especially when they associate Soros’ actions with his Jewish identity.”

As for Zionism, the difference between legitimate criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism can be distinguished by when the term “Zionism” is used as a substitute for the word “Jews.” For instance, one tweet highlighted in the report accused “Zionist parasites” of hijacking the federal government and the media. Another claimed Zionists are “committing genocide in Palestine” and another accused the media of being “Zionist Nazi.”

When looking at the numbers in aggregate, the ADL wasn’t able to determine a particular pattern for inflection points in the number of anti-Semitic tweets, other than the week that President Trump announced the Jerusalem move.

The report recommends that Twitter should combat such anti-Semitic tweets by providing “more access to the platform’s data,” properly enforce its terms of service and allow users to better filter out such vile tweets.

“This new data shows that even with the steps Twitter has taken to remove hate speech and to deal with those accounts disseminating it, users are still spreading a shocking amount of antisemitism and using Twitter as a megaphone to harass and intimidate Jews,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said during the organization’s recent conference. “We hope this report will create a renewed sense of urgency among all social media providers that this problem is not going away and that they need to find innovative new ways to tamp down the spread of hatred online.”

The full report can be read here.