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Press Release

New ADL Platform Helps Consumers Take Action Against Internet Hate Speech

New York, NY, June 10, 2013 … In an attempt to help Internet users better navigate the various mechanisms available for reporting online hate speech, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today launched a new, user-friendly online platform where consumers can learn how and where to report bigoted, bullying or hateful speech to the major Internet providers and social media sites.

The ADL Cyber-Safety Action Guide, available at www.adl.org/cybersafetyguide, features tabs where visitors may access information on submitting complaints and reporting hate speech to the major online companies, including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.  The ADL resource provides quick links to each company’s cyber-bullying and harassment policies and terms of service, as well as links directly to online complaint forms.

For each Internet company, the ADL resource identifies:

  • The company’s general hate speech policy, if one exists;
  • Information on the company’s cyber-bullying and harassment policy;
  • Links to pages and/or an e-mail address where users may lodge a formal complaint. 

“One of the concerns we often hear from Internet users is how time-consuming and confusing it can be to locate information on reporting hate speech to Internet providers,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.  “Through the Cyber-Safety Action Guide we hope to demystify the process by steering users directly to that information and making it easier for them to flag offensive content.”

In Viral Hate: Containing Its Spread on the Internet (Palgrave Macmillan, June 2013), a new book co-authored by Mr. Foxman and Christopher Wolf, flagging and reporting offensive content is identified as one of the most effective solutions in the ongoing battle against Internet hate speech. 

The authors, who are among the country’s foremost experts in Internet hate, emphasize that self-reporting can go a long way toward helping Internet providers become more accountable for hate speech posted by users and more responsive to the public they serve.

Viral Hate makes clear that the goal is not to chill free speech, but rather to identify and remove speech that crosses the line into racism, anti-Semitism or bigotry, or that otherwise violates the companies’ own terms of service policies.

“This is a first-of-its-kind consumer resource that we believe will provide Internet users with a powerful tool to fight back against online hate speech,” said Mr. Wolf, ADL Civil Rights Chair and an attorney who specializes in Internet hate.  “Because of the enormous volume of uploaded content, companies typically rely on users to bring offensive speech to their attention.  We hope to facilitate this by making it easier for users to quickly understand how the process works, and to exercise their right to file a formal complaint.”

Among the companies highlighted in the ADL Cyber-Safety Action Guide are Amazon, AT&T, Comcast, eBay, Facebook, GoDaddy.com, Google+, Google play, Instagram, LinkedIn, MySpace, Pinterest, Tumblr., Twitter, Vimeo, and YouTube.

Additional companies will be added to the resource in the future based on suggestions from users and changes in the marketplace.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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