Research: Antisemitic stereotypes in social media

A new study from the Swedish Defense Research Agency, FOI, maps the prevalence of antisemitic stereotypes in social media. The report shows that every fourth post about Jews expresses an antisemitic stereotype. 

That such a large proportion of the posts that are about Jews or Judaism actually contain antisemitic descriptions or hostility towards Jews, I think is horrible, says Lisa Kaati, research leader at FOI. 

The study is one part of the research that was to be presented at a now set forum in Malmö against antisemitism with several international guests. The study looked at around 2.5 million English-language posts about Jews or Judaism on four social media platforms, Twitter, Reddit, Gab and 4chan, over a six-month period last year. 

The results show that 35 percent of these contained hostile attitudes towards Jews, and the majority also negative stereotypes, says Lisa Kaati. 

The stereotype that occurred most frequently was one about Jews and power. I also think that this can be seen in different types of conspiracy theories where often some high status group is pointed out, often then Jews, as the cause of all evil. This stereotype is probably pretty much connected with conspiracy theories that have gained a foothold in social media. 

Most posts with antisemitic content comes from the platforms Gab and 4chan, which according to Lisa Kaati also has many Swedish users. She thinks it is important to pay attention to the fact that these stereotypes are spreading on the platforms. 

Partly because we see so many acts of violence happening right now with antisemitic motives. And if we have a conversational climate, it is very serious and really a breeding ground for people to commit serious acts of violence. 

She also hopes that the study can serve as a warning bell for the social media platforms regarding antisemitism. 

For example, we saw at the beginning of the summer that the British rapper Wiley made a lot of antisemitic statements. It took a long time before Facebook blocked him. This was partly because their user rules did not capture antisemitism in that way. Now they have changed their user rules and I hope that more people can pay attention to the danger of spreading this stereotypical description of Jews.

Source:  nord