by: Itamer Eichner, Tal Shahaf
Friday, 16 October 2020 | Representatives of the popular social media app TikTok vowed on Wednesday to tackle anti-Semitic posts shared by their users.
The Knesset [Parliament] held a series of discussions in recent months over the surge of anti-Semitism on the internet, inviting representatives of several prominent social media networks—namely Facebook, Google and Twitter—to discuss different ways to tackle the phenomenon.
After not sending any representative to speak on its behalf in previous meetings and facing accusations of ignoring the spread of anti-Semitic content on the platform, a TikTok official joined a meeting of Knesset’s Aliyah [Immigration to Israel], Absorption and Diaspora [the Jewish population outside of Israel] Committee on Wednesday.
During the discussion, Blue and White MK [member of Knesset] Michal Kotler-Wunsch spoke of a disturbing trend on the app called the “Holocaust Challenge,” in which young people pretend to be Holocaust victims in heaven, wearing makeup that imitates burns or bruises while explaining how they died in Nazi-run death camps.
Kotler-Wunsch implored TikTok to adopt and apply the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism—which includes the use of Holocaust denial, as well as delegitimization, demonization and dual morality towards Israel and drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis—and mark anti-Semitic content accordingly.
Following the accusations, TikTok Director of Policy and Government Relations Elizabeth Kanter suggested that the app be used as a tool to increase awareness of the horrors of the Holocaust and Holocaust studies.
“Anti-Semitism is a heinous thing, and anti-Semitic content that expresses hatred has no place on our platform,” Kanter said. “We have zero tolerance for organized hate groups and those associated with them. Our community rules reflect our values—and we act when they are violated, including removing content and closing accounts.”
Kanter stressed that TikTok’s hate policy is reviewed regularly to identify trends or activities that violate the rules in advance.
“TikTok collaborates regularly with nongovernmental organizations and leading bodies in Israel and the European Union, such as Yad Vashem, the World Jewish Congress and the Holocaust Educational Foundation, to proactively promote educational content about the Holocaust and the dangers of anti-Semitism,” she said.
Knesset Aliyah, Absorption and Diaspora Committee Chairman David Bitan praised the platform’s initiative and called on more companies to adopt a similar stance against anti-Semitism.
Twitter Director of Policy in Israel, Ronen Costello, said that the company initiated talks with several Israeli government officials and international organizations regarding monitoring anti-Semitism on the platform and training volunteers to spot such content.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Monday the company will ban posts that deny or distort the Holocaust and will start directing people to authoritative sources if they search for information about the Nazi genocide.
Posted on October 16, 2020
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