Why Antisemitism Thrives on Social Media Platforms
Antisemitism exploded across social media after Oct. 7. Our feeds flooded with glorified terrorists, global intifada demands, and violent threats targeted at Jewish leaders. Yet online Jewish hate surged to record highs before then, helping fuel similar historic spikes in antisemitic incidents and hate crimes last year, according to the ADL and FBI.
The Influence of Social Media Algorithms
So why do social media platforms seem hardwired for antisemitic hatred? The answer lies in how social media algorithms prioritize content that triggers engagement and views. These algorithms are designed to deliver content most likely to absorb our time and generate a reaction, with controversial posts eliciting frenzied responses. As a result, inflammatory and controversial content, including antisemitic posts, is prioritized, leading to the proliferation of hate speech on social media platforms.
The Case of X (Formerly Known as Twitter)
One platform’s complete abdication of responsibility demonstrates the dramatic impact of leaving these algorithms to their own devices. Twitter, now known as X, was beset by contradictions before Elon Musk purchased the company last year. Musk has systematically degraded or eliminated every policy, practice, and person responsible for governing hateful content. As a result, antisemitism surged by over 900 percent on X, a far greater rate than other mainstream sites and even fringe spaces like 4chan and Gab.
The Role of Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Over the past year, as co-chairs of the Interparliamentary Task Force to Combat Online Antisemitism, we met with social media and technology companies to share concerns about the rapid development of AI and its role in accelerating the spread of hate. If the AI revolution compares to automobiles overtaking horse-drawn wagons, let’s be clear: Artificial intelligence is still in its Model-T era. The responsible development and deployment of AI are crucial in countering hatred online rather than intensifying it.