ADL Statement on Introduction of Protecting Americans from Dangerous Algorithms Act

New York, NY, October 20, 2020 ... ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) CEO Jonathan Greenblatt issued the following statement regarding the introduction of the Protecting Americans from Dangerous Algorithms Act by Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA):

ADL has long fought against social media’s extraordinary amplification of violence and extremism, which is a profoundly harmful consequence of platforms optimizing for user engagement and revenue. Yet federal law has immunized platforms and the internet ecosystem from almost all accountability, even where they may play an integral role in enabling crimes, civil rights violations or acts of terror.  

ADL and its civil society allies, including those involved in the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, have made progress in calling for platforms to change their policies and put people over profit. Government also has a role to play.  For that reason, ADL believes the approach to fighting online hate and violent radicalization represented by the ‘Protecting Americans from Dangerous Algorithms Act,’ introduced today by Reps. Malinowski and Eshoo, is worth serious consideration. We also welcome an understanding that the problem of cyberhate will not be fixed by a single, one-size-fits-all solution, and any legislation must also be guided by  continued sensitivity to protecting online free speech, particularly that of communities that are too often silenced by extremism and hate.

To that end, we welcome lawmakers exploring ways to curtail social media’s use of algorithmic amplification, particularly in contexts that expand the reach and danger of hateful incitement and violence. It is crucial to increase oversight and require transparency so we can better understand and respond to the ways in which platforms amplify content, especially when the outcome is an increase in extremism, radicalization and bigotry. 

While some extremists are pushing a hateful agenda this election season, we are committing our resources and expertise to fighting their efforts. We hope everyone is able to exercise their right to vote in this important election.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.