The Simon Wiesenthal Center Released Its Annual Digital Terror & Hate Report

Twitter earned the best grade among social networks, but it was just a B-plus

As part of this year’s report, the center also published a report card
Simon Wiesenthal Center

The Simon Wiesenthal Center presented its annual Digital Terror & Hate Report at a press briefing in New York’s City Hall Thursday.

As part of this year’s report, the center also published a report card, grading social media platforms on their effectiveness in combating hate speech among their users.

Twitter was tops among what the center referred to as “the big five,” earning a B-plus.

Facebook and Google/YouTube followed, each with a B-minus, while Instagram earned a C and Russian-based VK was awarded a D.

In the center’s “alt-tech” category, Reddit led with a B-minus, while Disqus was given a C-minus.

Grades of D were given to Brighteon and Minds, while Voat was given a D-minus and F grades went to Gab and WrongThink.

Messaging applications fared poorly, as Telegram and Kik each received grades of D, while Surespot was given a D-minus and Snapchat an incomplete.

In the gaming category, Steam earned a C-minus grade, while Discord was tagged with an F.

The report also shared examples of hate speech on the various social platforms.

Simon Wiesenthal Center associate dean and director of global social action Rabbi Abraham Cooper said in a release, “This past year, we witnessed the most catastrophic tragedy in American Jewish history when white nationalist Robert Bowers walked into a synagogue and murdered 11 worshippers in cold blood. Bowers was not only a consumer, but rather active on social media, spreading hate and gaining empowerment.”

The center shared a Gab post by Bowers on the day of the slaughter, in which he referred to the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, an organization that helps settle refugees around the world, writing, “HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics. I’m going in.”

Other examples of inflammatory content included: a one-minute video ISIS posted to Instagram last December that detailed how to build an explosive device using common ingredients; the VK account of Neo-Nazi, white supremacist and National Socialist Movement leader Jeff Schoep; volatile community groups on Steam; and German songs in 1930s march music style in popular video game Fortnite.

Cooper added, “The idea of online hate and terror posing a danger is not an abstraction. We’ve seen the impact of foreign terrorist groups who use the internet to spread their messages of hate and to organize. Now we see the model replicated in the U.S. to tragic effect.”

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