Pushing Back on Poor Social Media Content Moderation

Edison, NJ – Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey’s leadership participated in a roundtable discussion with Congressman Frank Pallone and other Jewish Community leaders on the failure of social media companies to monitor and mitigate misinformation and graphic content related to Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel.

Federation representatives Lisa Karasic, Chief Communications Officer; Dan Rozett, Director of Community Relations and Israel Engagement; Amy Goodman, Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC); and Liran Kapoano, Board Member and JCRC co-chair; were joined by Adam Glinn of the JCC of Middlesex County, which hosted the event, Lisa Glass of Rutgers Hillel, and high school student Sophie F. to provide insight and perspective on how to tackle the surge of online hate. 

In addition to describing the scope and nature of the problem, the group considered some possible ways to approach solutions. 

"This is likely to be just the beginning as efforts could potentially touch on legal and regulatory constraints, profit-driven corporate decision making, trends in 'corporate and social responsibility,' education, and more,” said Karasic.

Today the issue is antisemitism. In a broader context, social media companies’ failure to moderate problematic content could have national security implications,” Karasic noted and wondered whether legal and regulatory-based actions might not be out of the question as First Amendment rights have been limited by courts in the past when national security is at stake.

Congressman Pallone sent letters to the CEOs of Meta, TikTok, X (formerly Twitter), and YouTube questioning how they are mitigating the proliferation of extreme, graphic, false, misleading, or harmful content in the aftermath of Hamas’s October attacks and Israel’s ongoing response in Gaza.

“I am especially concerned that weakened trust and safety policies and increased reliance on automation over humans to monitor content undermines these companies’ abilities to adequately handle sudden and complex world events,” Pallone said. “These problems are only exacerbated by company policies that intentionally amplify divisive and extreme content so they can bring in more ad dollars—choosing profits over the American people. As a follow-up, I’m expecting the companies to provide more comprehensive answers on their efforts to address harmful content on their platforms.”

“What I'd like to see happen is for the government to begin holding responsible companies and influencers with huge followings that are monetizing lies and distortions,” said Kapoano. “Regardless of which side is doing the lying, it is unacceptable. How can we have a civil society without a sense of shared reality? And history shows that when countries lose their sense of reality, they turn to conspiracies and eventually blame the Jews, and what begins with the Jews, ends with every minority and targeted group.”

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), recorded a surge in antisemitism on X amounting to a 919% week-over-week increase between September 30 to October 13 (a week before to a week after the initial Hamas attacks).

Using data from the ADL, Rozett, briefed members of the roundtable on how many social media platforms lack fundamental features so often requested by targets of online hate and harassment, including to speak to a live person for support, regardless of the level of severity or urgency of abuse they’re experiencing.

Rozett pointed out that platforms are struggling to prevent hate and harassment from proliferating in four main ways:

  • Failure to deal with niche or emerging hateful terms and acronyms. 
  • Inadequate enforcement against dehumanizing and stereotyping language. 
  • Difficulty moderating video and image content. 
  • Curbing influential accounts’ use of tools, such as promoted posts, to amplify harmful content. 

For the full ADL report click HERE.

“One of the dangers of online hate is that it leads to incitement and real-world violence, in this case against Jews”, said Rozett. “According to a report released by Israel’s Diaspora Affairs and Combating Antisemitism Ministry, the World Zionist Organization, and the Jewish Agency there was a 330% increase in violent antisemitic events, including the desecration of Jewish sites, harassment, and threats. This is not a coincidence considering the massive increase of online antisemitism.”

"I am thankful to have had the opportunity to participate in a roundtable discussion with Congressman Pallone on December 20, said JCRC member, Amy Goodman. “Since October 7th, there has been a horrifying increase in hate and misinformation targeting Jews on social media, and the platforms are failing to control it. As a parent of three young adults, I know social media is how most of their peers get their ‘news’, so I appreciate and support Congressman Pallone’s efforts to hold social media organizations accountable for their inflammatory and hateful content."

Jewish Federation will continue to support all efforts by our congressional leaders to hold social media companies responsible for the content on their platforms to reduce the amount of antisemitism and all hate.  


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