The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) blasted Twitter for failing to enforce its policy on antisemitic content.
An investigation by ADL’s Center for Technology and Society (CTS) discovered that Twitter failed to remove over 200 overtly antisemitic tweets accusing Jewish people of pedophilia, invoking Holocaust denial, and sharing anti-Jewish conspiracy theories, the ADL said in a statement.
To test Twitter’s enforcement of its policies on antisemitism, CTS reported 225 antisemitic posts over nine weeks to the platform. But only 11 of the tweets, 5 percent, were removed, and many of the others were still active on the platform.
“The content ADL reported to Twitter were obvious examples of antisemitism as determined by our experts and our newly created Online Hate Index antisemitism classifier,” ADL said. “We found examples of classic antisemitic tropes, such as myths of Jewish power and greed, and hate against other marginalized communities.”
The advocacy organization applauded Twitter for improving its policy on antisemitic material in recent years.
But they noted that the report shows Twitter still has work to do.
“Twitter must enact its most severe consequences and remove destructive, hateful content when reported by experts from the communities most impacted by such content,” they said.
According to ADL, Twitter staff gave two reasons why antisemitic tweets were not removed.
Some of the posts had not been removed but instead “de-amplified, could not be shared or engaged with, or down ranked the content behind a low-quality content filter,” Twitter told them.
The social media giant also said that some of the content was not removed because it did not meet the threshold for hate content. For instance, tweets with only one hateful comment were not subject to content moderation.
“In both of these cases, the decisions made by Twitter significantly minimize the impact of antisemitism and that hate more broadly has on individuals from targeted communities. It is neither enough to de-amplify hate nor wait for hate to rise to a certain threshold before taking action,” ADL said.
“If a swastika was painted on a public building, we would not tell a community to put up a sign in front of it telling passersby to avert their eyes or wait to take action until there were a few additional swastikas painted on the same building.”
“Hateful content, once identified, and especially if identified by members or groups who represent the impacted community, should be removed from tech platforms under their hate policies so that not even one person has to experience it,” they added.