November 16, 2018

How to fight anti-Semitism online?

What do you do when you see hate speech on your Facebook or Twitter feed? Do you calm yourself down, swallow the bitter pill and move on, or do you comment bravely and report the image/page/user/group?

For Israeli student Shay Amiran- Pugachov, fighting anti-Semitism and hate speech online has become a full-time job. Amiran Pugachov is the Program Coordinator of the national program ISCA – “Israeli Students Combating Antisemitism.” Each year, 30-40 top students from Israel’s various high-education facilities are elected to take part of this special program, where they monitor anti- Semitic behavior and discourse online, mainly on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. Every day, they take time out from studying in order to make our world a little better.>

Just this year alone, this group of students took down more than 5,000 anti-Semitic Facebook pages, users and groups and helped expose and bring to the public’s eye the French comedian who invented the reverse Nazi salute (

 

 

Lately, complaints have been heard on Facebook's “permissive” policy when it comes to Antisemitic content. Do you agree?

“This year, we have witnessed some improvement, but unfortunately, it’s far from being enough. Many of our reports to Facebook of Community Standards violations are on content which is bluntly anti-Semitic, but Facebook still refuses to remove it. I believe it’s because they only examine parts of the content in questions and don’t see the full picture, literally. For instance, you can post a photo of sweet little cats- nothing anti-Semitic there – but add a description saying “those cats are against Zionist rats.”
I also believe there are some words in Facebook’s algorithm that assist them with flagging inappropriate of hateful content. Sadly, this is not enough. Therefore, Facebook must hire more people of various nationalities who speak various languages to truly enforce those Community Standards.”

 

What can we do to help fight anti- Semitism online?

“First, follow ISCA’s channels on Facebook and Twitter. We are flagging hateful content occasionally and ask our followers to help remove them.

Second- do not be afraid to report inappropriate of hateful content, by using the “report” option on Youtube videos, Tweets and Facebook posts/pages/groups/users. By reporting, you flag the content as harming or hurtful and tell Youtube/Facebook/Twitter that you don’t like it. The more people report- the clearer the message will be, and the chance for removal will be bigger.

Third, and most important – Be yourself. If you see injustice – correct it, and don’t be afraid to deal with anti-Semitism online. The worst that can happen is you being blocked or ignored. It is far less traumatic than encountering a neo- Nazi group in the real world, and can help preventing it from happening. Know that we are here for you, and you can ask us for help and let us know if you encounter anti-Semitism online.

 

Shay Amiran- Pugachov