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The social media giants putting profit over people: as offline hate crimes rise, data shows that online regulation is still not a priority

Bright Data has released information which demonstrates the alarming rate at which antisemitic hate speech is growing without the appropriate action being taken to reduce it across the “Big Five” social media companies – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Youtube.

Working with Bright Data’s public data scraping tools, CyberWell, a non-profit organisation with the world’s first live open database of antisemitic content, is lifting the lid on the safe spaces being created online for extremist views.

CyberWell has already flagged more than 100,000 pieces of content, which it then reports to the social media company and monitors how long it takes for that content to be removed. Having reported more than 2,000 instances of antisemitic content during 2022, it identified an average removal rate of just 23.8% across the five platforms. This lack of action is inherently dangerous, as it allows for extremist views to be shared and cultivated on seemingly regulated online platforms.

The platform also monitored the antisemitic responses to the International Holocaust Remembrance Day (IHRD) 2023. Looking at rhetoric which pushes conspiracy theories about the Holocaust, it recorded that there were 2,361,453 accounts in total that made up the reach for the following combined terms promoting Holocaust denial and distortion on Twitter:

• “The Holocaust Industry”
• #thenoticing
• “Numbers don’t add up”
• “holohoax”

It was also able to uncover that the comments from Ye in October last year led to a 127.7% increase in antisemitic content vetted by CyberWell when compared with September. On top of this, the CyberWell team identified five antisemitic narratives and a series of hashtags (e.g #KanyeIsRight, #YeIsRight, #SynagogueOfSatan) that appeared in content supporting Kanye or his statements.

In order to tackle the masses of content across the big five social platforms, you need to be able to accurately monitor and collect vast quantities of publicly available social media content in real time. To do this, CyberWell is now working with Bright Web Scraper IDE – delivered through the Bright Initiative – to aid with the automatic collection of data from social media platforms at scale. The organisation then creates real-time alerts that are tailored for each social media platform and shared for them to address and act upon.

“Unfortunately, there is a significant growth of Jew-hatred online which materialises into real-world hostility and even violence. Since the social media channels themselves are failing to remove this dangerous content effectively, our initiative relies on public web data to identify, track and report hate content that is increasingly amplified by millions when left online.

“Access to open-source public social media data is key to stopping these escalating waves of hate. Our partnership with The Bright Initiative has improved our ability to identify and monitor hate speech and antisemitic misinformation across all social media channels – helping us create transparency, drive positive change, and hold these companies accountable.” Tal-Or Cohen Montemayor, Founder and Executive Director of CyberWell.

With aggressive legislation that gives the EU power to fine social media companies that fail to remove specific types of content within 24 hours – known as the Digital Services Act (DSA) – on the horizon, interactive platforms like this will undoubtedly become increasingly influential for democratising and centralising the fight against online hate speech.
You can read the full report on the Ye incident from CyberWell, among other reports, on their website.

About Bright Data

Bright Data is an industry-leading web data platform. Fortune 500 companies, academic institutions and small businesses all rely on Bright Data’s solutions to retrieve, structure and analyse public web data in the most efficient, reliable and flexible way so they can address their most comprehensive questions and make fast and effective decisions.

About CyberWell

CyberWell is the world’s first live database of online antisemitism, using cutting-edge technology to collect digital hate so it can be studied and stopped. CyberWell’s platform is designed to drive the enforcement and improvement of community standards and hate speech policies across the digital space.