912 percent increase in antisemitic content on TikTok
July 23, 2021
(JNS) — During a symposium about online anti-Semitism sponsored by the U.S. State Department last year, a representative from the social-media platform TikTok assured that his company was working to combat hate.
Speaking in October 2020, Jeff Collins said TikTok’s mission is “to inspire and bring joy. … There’s no place for hate on TikTok, and we are investing a lot in people and tech to really get this right.”
Yet despite these efforts, a study out of Israel found a staggering 912 percent increase in anti-Semitic comments and a nearly 1,400 percent rise of anti-Semitic user names on the social-media platform as compared to 2020—representing a rise in actual numbers from 41 to 415, and from four to 59, re-spectively, from 2020 to 2021.
The study was conducted jointly by Gabriel Weinmann, a professor at the Uni-versity of Haifa, and Natalie Masri, a research assistant at IDC Herzliya’s Insti-tute for Counter-Terrorism.
Weinmann and Masri examined online postings, comments and usernames in a four-month period in 2021, comparing them to 2020 data. What they discov-ered was significant Jew-hatred on the site, which is especially popular with younger people. More than 40 percent of the site’s 1.2 billion users are be-tween the ages of 16 and 24.
“TikTok claims on its homepage that it is ‘raw, real and without boundaries,’ ” the study concluded. “But the lack of boundaries, combined with the growing success of this platform, makes it an ideal virtual home for hate speech and ex-tremist content.”
It is the second recent report to examine Jew-hatred on TikTok.
The Anti-Defamation League posted its own observations last month, saying “a recent review of the platform found that anti-Semitism continues to percolate across the app, including content from known anti-Semitic figures, as well as posts perpetuating age-old anti-Semitic tropes and conspiracy theories.”
However, the ADL did state that its review of TikTok was “not intended to quan-tify the amount or prevalence of anti-Semitism on the platform, but rather to offer an impressionistic sense of the type of anti-Semitic content that can be found with only a few taps. It should be noted that when alerted to the content ADL COE [Center on Extremism] found, TikTok took down the specific content.”