The World Jewish Congress’ affiliate, the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France (Crif), has launched an Online Hate Speech Observatory, aimed at analyzing antisemitic incidents on the internet across the country.
The Observatory, which Crif is conducting in coordination with IPSOS Institute is currently focused exclusively on antisemitism, although there are plans to extend to analyses of other types of bigotries including homophobia, Islamophobia, according to Crif President Francis Kalifat.
In its initial research, the Observatory used an algorithm to identify 51,816 antisemitic incidents, which were thereafter individually verified as antisemitic and classified according to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism. It is likely that the rate of antisemitic incidents online were higher than the report found since only incidents involving public accounts were included in the Observatory.
Digital forums have emerged as a global forefront in the battle against hate speech, and in the efforts to enable clearer mechanisms for identifying offensive material and enforcing restrictions.
A WJC report conducted together with the Israeli monitoring firm Vigo Social Intelligence in 2017 found that an average of more than 382,000 antisemitic social media posts had been over the course of the prior year – an average of more than 43.6 posts per an hour, or one post every 83 seconds.
A follow up to that report conducted by the WJC found that the use of antisemitic symbols and posts denying the Holocaust increased dramatically in January 2018 compared to the same period in 2016. Key findings of that report indicated that 30 percent more posts using anti-Semitic symbols were recorded during this time frame, along with twice the number of conversations denying the Holocaust.