Researchers who study social media platforms claim that anti-Semitic posts have increased massively in recent years. The posts, they say, are from far-right users of platforms like Instagram, Twitter etc. The researchers also added that the social media platforms have done nothing to stop this. The hate posts, in particular, have spiked remarkably on the run-up to the US midterms which will take place in November 6th. This backs a trend observed on the run-up to the 2016 election when cases of social media harassment spiked too.
The researchers said that a big portion of the anti-Semitic posts has been about billionaire investor George Soros. The Jewish businessman has been the subject of many conspiracy theories online. Soros was among the prominent individuals that were targeted by pipe bombs recently. According to Jonathan Albright, a researcher at Columbia University and one of the leaders in the team conducting the digital forensic studies, the posts involving Soros are probably the “worst kind of hate speech” we have seen on social media in a long time.
Some of the top posts trending on Instagram, for instance, appeared to suggest that Soros and the other prominent figures that were targeted by the pipe bombs staged this in an effort to score some political points. This was before a suspect was arrested in Florida in connection to the bombs. The suspect is a Trump supporter. Other trending posts involving Soros also had explicit calls for violence against Jews.
Another study that was conducted by the Anti-Defamation League, a nonprofit that tracks hate speech against Jews, also found an increase of attacks on Twitter over the last few months. According to the organization, after analyzing over 7 million tweets starting from August this year, they did find a considerable amount of hate speech largely targeting Soros. They also noted that almost a third of these tweets came from automated accounts or “bots.”
Twitter didn’t respond to the allegations but we do know that the company has taken drastic steps in the recent months to stop hate on its platform. In addition to this, Twitter has also been cleaning up house in an attempt to find and remove fake or “bot” accounts. These accounts have been blamed for the increasing hate speech against Jews.