As 2016 draws to a close, the Anti-Defamation League is counting down the major milestones we accomplished this year in the fight against hate. Here’s a look at some highlights of our work this year – bringing us that much closer to our goal of achieving a world without hate.
Alarmed by a year when anti-Semitism coursed through social media, anti-Semitic incidents rose and Jewish stereotypes appeared in mainstream discourse, ADL convened a groundbreaking summit to explore all facets of the upsurge and consider what action to take.
An audience of 1,000 concerned adults and students at the Grand Hyatt New York heard analysis from an unusually diverse group of thought leaders from across countries, industries, academia and the nonprofit world.
“We must not be silent,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. “We must raise our voices. We must act. And to act, we must understand what we are up against.
“We need to wrap our heads around the threats from the Radical Left that seek to de-legitimize Jewish peoplehood and an Extreme Right that is embracing white nationalism and other racialist ideas that are anti-Semitic to their core.
“We need to understand how technology is spreading these hatreds and becoming a weapon that threatens our Jewish community.”
Two high points of the Summit: when leaders from Twitter and Google spoke frankly about the outpouring of anti-Semitism and hate on their sites—and their creative new efforts to deal with it.
In a conversation with ADL Senior Vice President for Policy and Programs Deborah Lauter, Twitter Vice President for Trust and Safety Del Harvey acknowledged the ongoing challenge Twitter faces in confronting hate speech, and outlined several new steps the platform was taking. She highlighted a new, rigorous retraining program Twitter has implemented for its support teams, and a new reporting flow empowering bystanders as well as targets of abuse to report hateful conduct. Ms. Harvey also called attention to Twitter’s expanded “mute” and “block” functions, which give users greater control over what they see and who they interact with on the platform.
ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt and Yasmin Green, Head of Research & Development, Jigsaw at Google, discussed what distinguishes the online behavior of someone who is sympathetic toward an extremist group compared to the mainstream Internet user who just wants to find out more. Ms. Green said there are actually ways to distinguish between these types of users. Jigsaw is also exploring—with input from ADL—how artificial intelligence might train algorithms to detect online hate and harassment. An exciting possibility.
To watch videos of these sessions and others—including ADL’s new Director of Technology and Society discussing her personal experience with online hate—go to neverisnow.org