ADL Provides Expertise on Terrorist Use of Social Media for House Hearing

New York, NY, October 28, 2015 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today submitted testimony on terrorist use of social media to the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security.

In its testimony, ADL highlighted the troubling tactics employed by various terror groups on social media, in particular ISIS, and noted that several platforms have provided the opportunity for a deeply disturbing flow of horrific materials - including a high volume of appalling anti-Semitic content - to be widely accessible.

“Terrorist groups are not only using various online and mobile platforms to spread their messages, but also to actively recruit adherents who live in the communities they seek to target,” said Marvin Nathan, ADL National Chair, in written testimony. “While the fundamental ideological content of terrorist propaganda has remained consistent for two decades – replete with militant condemnations of perceived transgressions against Muslims worldwide, appeals for violence, and anti-Semitism – terrorists groups are now able to reach, recruit and motivate extremists more quickly and effectively than ever before by adapting their messages to new technology.”

ADL reiterated the urgent need for guidelines for removing terror-related content by internet and social companies.

“Some platforms do not have clear or effective policies regarding terrorist content, enabling terrorists and their supporters to exploit their services more easily and uninterrupted,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “Word­Press for example hosts a website that fea­tures hun­dreds of ISIS pro­pa­ganda videos, state­ments and publications. Among the hun­dreds of items on the site are behead­ing and exe­cu­tion videos, as well as videos and arti­cles encour­ag­ing West­ern­ers to travel to join ISIS or to com­mit attacks on its behalf in their home countries. The site remains online despite efforts to flag the material.”

Mr. Greenblatt also referred to the current wave of Palestinian violence taking place in Israel as a “widespread phenomenon” across social media sites.

“Instructional videos on stabbing, clips of Muslim preachers calling for attacks on Jews, images and hashtags, are all going viral,” Mr. Greenblatt said. “Such incitement on social media is widely understood as having a significant link to the stabbing attacks against Israelis, and the online glorification of each attack further spreads the message and encourages would-be attackers.”

ADL’s testimony included a detailed report on how anti-Semitism remains a pillar of Islamic extremist ideology, and explained how its relationships with the tech industry and law enforcement are significantly helping to tackle this ongoing issue.

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