August 01, 2021

Social media platforms fail to address antisemitism, according to new ADL report

In recent years, American Jews have faced increased threats of violence and harassment both online and offline. According to ADL’s annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, 2019 and 2020 were, respectively, the highest and third-highest years on record for cases of harassment, vandalism, and assault against Jews in the United States since tracking began in 1979. The recent conflict between Israel and Hamas, after which there was an increase in antisemitic incidents reported domestically, added another layer to Jews’ concerns over surging antisemitism and safety, 60 percent of Jewish Americans witnessed behavior or comments they deemed antisemitic following the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Against this alarming backdrop, are tech platforms doing enough to combat antisemitism? To help evaluate this, ADL analyzed how well nine platforms (Discord, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Roblox, TikTok, Twitch, Twitter, and YouTube) addressed submitted reports of antisemitic content. This is the first time that ADL has produced a report card grading platforms on their policies and enforcement against antisemitism.

ADL’s investigation showed that the majority of platforms performed at a middling level, with most earning grades in the C range. Twitter received a B-, the highest grade given, and Roblox earned a D-, the lowest grade of all platforms studied.

To determine how platforms responded to reports of violative antisemitic content, ADL investigators first searched for a handful of examples on each site. Between three and eleven examples of anti-Jewish content were identified for each platform we investigated. Second, ADL used accounts that were not publicly affiliated with ADL to report content under the platform’s hate policies to see how platforms would enforce their policies when ordinary users flagged antisemitic content. Third, for items that were not removed or otherwise actioned as a result of the initial reporting from ordinary user accounts, ADL investigators again reported the content, this time through trusted flagger programs in which ADL participates across four of the platforms included in this investigation. These programs are designed to give partners that work with tech companies a special pathway to report violative content. Fourth, ADL’s Center for Technology and Society (CTS) independently researched the accessibility of data from various platforms, because the ability for researchers to retrieve data from platforms is an essential predicate for any third-party efforts to measure the prevalence of antisemitism and hate online.

Finally, ADL created a report card with grades to reflect all these metrics.

Source: ADL