Study Tallies at Least 4.2 Million Anti-Semitic Tweets in Yearlong Period
A new Anti-Defamation League study on social media anti-Semitism found at least 4.2 million English-language anti-Semitic tweets including expressions, classic stereotypes, code words, symbols and conspiracy theories were shared in the 12 months before Jan. 28.
The 4.2 million tweets were sent from about three million Twitter handles, according to the report “Quantifying Hate: A Year of Anti-Semitism on Twitter,” at an average of 81,400 anti-Semitic tweets per week.
“This new data shows that even with the steps Twitter has taken to remove hate speech and to deal with those accounts disseminating it, users are still spreading a shocking amount of anti-Semitism and using Twitter as a megaphone to harass and intimidate Jews,” ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt said in a statement. “We hope this report will create a renewed sense of urgency among all social media providers that this problem is not going away and that they need to find innovative new ways to tamp down the spread of hatred online.”
"Algorithms and artificial intelligence will be key to identifying hate online, but human experts are needed to define the problem and, at least in the initial stages, to help the systems assess sentiment and eliminate false positives,” he added.
The number of tweets is likely higher because the study only included anti-Semitic memes or videos when there was accompanying anti-Semitic text.
Searching for keywords such as "kike" and hashtags such as #ZioNazi, an earlier ADL study uncovered 2.6 million anti-Semitic tweets reaching 10 billion Twitter users spanning the earlier part of the campaign season from August 2015 to July 2016.
At least 800 journalists were the target of those anti-Semitic tweets, with the 10 most targeted journalists, all Jewish, receiving 83 percent of the tweets directed at media.
In addition to common epithets used against Jews, tweets in the new study were found to range from Holocaust denial to promotion of known anti-Semitic personalities and using code symbols such as the triple-echo parenthesis around the name of a Jew.
There were also common themes discovered among many of the tweets, as "a significant number of tweets incorporated current events into the longstanding Rothschild conspiracy theory that a cabal of Jews led by members of the banking family have been manipulating currency and exerting influence on regional and national events for the purposes of personal enrichment and world domination."
Holocaust denial peaked at certain points over the yearlong study period, including April 2017 "when some Holocaust deniers latched onto former White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s incorrect claim that Hitler never used poison gas against his enemies."
The ADL also noted that George Soros "figures prominently in anti-Semitic tweets, with claims that he directly uses his largess to fund false flag events."