ADL Provides Progress Report on Efforts to Confront Cyberhate at Global Forum on Anti-Semitism

New York, NY, May 13, 2015 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today provided a progress report on its efforts to confront cyberhate based on recommendations by the Anti-Cyberhate Working Group, established by the League in 2012.

Art Reidel, co-chair of both ADL’s Cyberhate Response Task Force and the Working Group, participated in a panel discussion at the 5th Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism in Jerusalem. Mr. Reidel presented an update on significant achievements, various challenges and new recommendations, including a summary of consultations with representatives of the Internet and social media industry, civil society, the legal community and academia.

“The state of hate online today has reached unprecedented levels,” said Mr. Reidel. “The high volume of horrific content across innumerable platforms poses serious challenges. However, we are pleased to note that as a result of several high-level meetings with the policy leaders of the Internet industry, we have observed a heightened awareness of the problem and openness to exploring new approaches to dealing with it.”

ADL’s report provided the following recommendations and principles to guide the Internet industry in responding to cyberhate:

  • Create clear policies on hate speech and include them within the terms of service and community guidelines
  • Create mechanisms for enforcing hate speech policies
  • Establish a clear, user-friendly process for allowing users to report hate speech and flag offensive content
  • Increase transparency about terms of service enforcement decisions
  • Actively encourage counter-speech
  • Unite to confront the issue
  • More direct interaction with stakeholders
  • More attention to counter-speech strategies, teaching critical thinking, developing educational materials and raising awareness of the problem

“As long as technology keeps evolving, and bias, racism and anti-Semitism still persist, the haters will likely find new ways to exploit the new services and platforms to spew their corrosive message,” Mr. Reidel said. “At the same time, it is just as important to find the right balance when addressing cyberhate while still respecting free expression, without stifling legitimate debate.”

The ADL progress report also identified terrorist use of social media as a growing new challenge and offered additional recommendations to the companies for a response, including the creation of a specific new category for users seeking to flag terror-related content and using their corporate voices to condemn such use of their platforms.

In September 2014, ADL introduced its “Best Practices for Challenging Cyberhate,” an initiative that establishes guideposts for the industry to help prevent the spread of online hate speech.

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