As International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27 forces Jews to ask themselves how safe they feel, new data from CyberWell has revealed social-media companies’ underinvestment in monitoring antisemitism in Arabic.
Research has found that social-media platforms only remove 20% of all antisemitic content on their sites. CyberWell data shows that platforms police Holocaust-denial content more aggressively than other forms of antisemitism, resulting in a removal rate of 36%, but only in English. In Arabic, the rate plummets to 10%.
“These findings fit with what we’ve learned in studying how social-media companies respond to hate speech: Platforms will only devote resources to keeping users safe if enough people report problems, which puts Jews at a disadvantage,” said CyberWell founder and CEO Tal-Or Cohen. “Jews already make up less than a quarter of 1 percent of the global population, but fewer still are active on Arabic social media, which is home to a disproportionate amount of antisemitic content.”
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, which CyberWell uses to classify antisemitic content, describes 11 main categories of antisemitism, two of which deal directly with the Holocaust.
- Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II.
- Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
Many social-media platforms have taken significant steps to limit such content; neither Facebook nor TikTok will return results for the query “Holohoax,” and searching for that term on Facebook will produce a link to Holocaust information provided by the World Jewish Congress (WJC).
That picture changes in Arabic, however; the WJC link is not provided to those searching for Holocaust denial.
CyberWell’s database, powered by its advanced AI-based effort to monitor social media for antisemitic content, shows that similar posts questioning or denying the Holocaust are removed in English but remain online in Arabic.
“Reprehensible content is reprehensible in all languages,” said Cohen. “Social-media platforms’ overreliance on user reports and underinvestment in combating Jew-hatred online in non-English languages has allowed blatant hate to proliferate in Arabic; by alerting them to these data insights, we hope to direct their attention toward fixing the problem.”
To explore CyberWell’s live interactive database of online antisemitism, see: https://app.cyberwell.org/.