A new Fighting Online Antisemitism (FOA) survey of LinkedIn, a social network used mainly for professional and business networking, has brought to light large amounts of antisemitic content which was not removed from the network.
LinkedIn, like many other large social networks, has a “Professional Community Policy.” As part of the policy, the network opposes posting content promoting violence and hate speech. LinkedIn has committed to fighting these inappropriate types of content, antisemitic content included.
According to the report, the surveyed content on the network published in April, May, and June of 2020 showed that more than 100 posts were categorized as antisemitic according to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IRHA) definition. All posts found during the survey were reported to LinkedIn, but less than a third of the posts were removed (31.7% of the reported posts). Among the antisemitic posts which remain on the site, there are some posts with similar content to other removed posts.
The majority of the antisemitic content reported compares the Jewish people and/or the state of Israel to the Nazis, depicting an “ethnic cleansing” performed by the government of Israel, using stereotypical generalizations of the Jewish people and spreading lies about the Israeli government and other governing bodies. Yet unlike on other social networks, explicit calls for violence against Jews or Israel are less common, according to the survey. The report’s main conclusion is that LinkedIn’s system of filtering inappropriate content does not achieve the goals it has set for itself regarding everything concerning antisemitic content.
A few examples from the report show a user by the name of Shafkat Abes Nabi, who introduces himself as a programmer with a master’s degree in business, and claims that, “Zionist Israelis are Nazis,” yet after those blatant claims his post was not removed. Another user, by the name of Alliah Alkatan, who introduces herself as a doctorate student at NYU, has uploaded a post in which she states that Israel has committed ethnic cleansing. This post has received 32 thousand likes, over 800 shares, and almost 130 comments. It also was not removed from the site after it was reported.
A user named Nicholas Mulodico has uploaded a post, which also was not removed, that claims, “COVID is a hoax made by the Zionist’s foreign policy.” The report showed different profiles of people who use their professional or academic credibility to promote antisemitic content. An example of such is Tamam Abualsama, a spokeswoman in the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), which is supported by the European Union, in Brussels, who called terrorists “martyrs” in one of her posts and claimed that Israel is performing a massacre.
Barack Aharon, manager of monitoring in the FOA, stated: “The concerning issue with posting antisemitic content on LinkedIn is that the same people that spread hate content, also boast various academic and professional degrees and titles. That way they are attempting to make their hateful content more credible. All reported content was scanned and checked under a microscope according to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definitions and terms. ”
“Like all other social networks, LinkedIn also claims to fight this phenomenon, but unfortunately, our survey shows a different reality: The system that is supposed to stop this phenomenon does not work the way it should. We are calling for LinkedIn to collaborate with civil associations and organizations in order to remove antisemitic content quickly and efficiently, all while improving the existing policy on anti-Israeli content considered as antisemitic.”