Elon Musk
Elon MuskReuters

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk on Wednesday decried what he described as an online "trolling campaign" against the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and urged online platforms like X, formerly Twitter, to do more to battle hate speech, AFP reported.

Speaking at an event on antisemitism on the sidelines of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Turk demanded that social media platforms "do far more to stop the circulation of hate speech and disinformation".

"Those that do not take action need to be held to account," he said, insisting "there is no excuse for purveying the voice of hatred".

Turk deplored in particular "the current trolling campaign of one online platform against the Anti-Defamation League, after it called for action to limit its volume of hate speech".

While Turk did not mention names, he appeared to be referring to X owner Elon Musk's recent campaign against the ADL which culminated in Musk threatening a defamation lawsuit against the organization.

Musk’s threat to file a defamation lawsuit against the ADL came several days after he suggested holding a poll on X asking users whether to ban the ADL from the platform.

The CEO of X had earlier “liked” the tweet launching the hashtag #BanTheADL by Keith Woods, an Irish white nationalist and self-described “raging antisemite.”

His reasoning for a lawsuit against ADL is that the organization is responsible for lost revenue since his acquisition of the social media platform.

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt responded last week to Musk’s threats, saying, “It is profoundly disturbing that Elon Musk spent the weekend engaging with a highly toxic antisemitic campaign on his platform — a campaign started by an unrepentant bigot that then was heavily promoted by individuals such as white supremacist Nick Fuentes, Christian nationalist Andrew Torba, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and others.”

The ADL CEO charged Musk with engaging with and elevating these antisemites at a time of unprecedented spikes in antisemitism targeting Jewish institutions and private residential communities.

“And so, this behavior is not just alarming nor reckless. It is flat out dangerous and deeply irresponsible. We need responsible leaders to lead, to stop inflaming hatred and to step back from the brink before it's too late,” Greenblatt added.

The ADL has criticized Musk but also has sought to accommodate some of his requests, including issuing a condemnation last month of an Apartheid-era fight song calling to kill white farmers. Musk, who is a native South African, claimed the song supports anti-white hate.