Dear technology company CEOs and industry leaders,
We, the undersigned Jewish community organizations and leaders, write to express our alarm at the surge in online content celebrating the terrorist organization Hamas and the heinous murders and related attacks it committed against 1400 civilians in Israel on and since October 7, 2023.
We have subsequently observed a dramatic increase in antisemitic hate speech and misinformation on several social media platforms and technology services following the attacks, which have triggered violent attacks against Jews and Israelis around the world. Since Hamas and other terrorist organizations are dedicated to Israel’s violent destruction and the murder of Jewish civilians, praise of any kind for these organizations and their leaders enhances the real danger Jews face today. We know periods of intense violence in the Middle East are often accompanied by increased assaults—verbal and physical—against Jews and their institutions around the world. During the escalation in hostilities between Israel and Hamas in May 2021, for instance, the United States experienced an 80 percent increase in antisemitism and incidents in the UK skyrocketed by 500 percent. Since October 7, 2023, antisemitic incidents, often driven by what is seen in the media and on social media, have spiked around the world.
We urge you to take prompt and effective action to limit the presence and visibility of antisemitic content; misinformation such as false or unverifiable claims that create a risk that Jews, Israelis or other, will face imminent violence; and content praising, glorifying, or otherwise expressing support for Hamas and other antisemitic terror groups, on your platforms and services. We applaud efforts that companies have made to scale up enforcement of policies prohibiting harmful content of this nature since October 7. We stress these efforts must be maintained, not curtailed, as Jews and Israelis around the world continue to face serious threats of violence, harassment, and abuse fueled by online hate and dangerous misinformation.
Recently, some advocacy organizations have expressed concern that social media and technology companies have implemented policies to mitigate the surge in harmful content related to the conflict in ways that have had a disproportionate and discriminatory impact on users who are concerned with the welfare of Palestinians.
We greatly value the commitment that several companies have made to avoid infringing on human rights or causing adverse human rights impacts to the greatest extent feasible. We agree that technology companies should allow space for robust debate and the expression of a wide range of positions, including criticism of Israel and non-violent expressions of support for Palestinian statehood. However, we also expect companies to have a commitment to safety, including that of Jews worldwide.
We urge companies, therefore, to adopt and enforce policies that protect Jews facing threats to their rights to life and physical integrity, to freedom of religion or belief, and the right to participate in public and cultural life, including by removing content from their platforms that encourages or creates an imminent risk of such harm. Conversely, allowing Hamas propaganda, including posts that justify, applaud, and encourage terrorism and the murder of civilians, call for the destruction of the state of Israel, or otherwise constitute antisemitic hate speech on your platforms is inconsistent with your obligation to counter negative human rights impacts arising from your companies’ operations.
We urge you to take the following steps:
- No company should permit content that legitimates or glorifies groups like Hamas for which terror is an essential tactic, as doing so conveys the message that the murder of civilians, including but not limited to Jews, is an acceptable form of advocacy; or that calls for or celebrates the murder of civilians more generally.
- Companies should prohibit antisemitic content on their platforms and services, which we understand with reference to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism. This includes misinformation and disinformation that has the effect of conveying antisemitic stereotypes and conspiracies. Less severe interventions than removal of such content, such as labels, warning screens, or other measures to reduce dissemination, can be useful but do not provide the same protection.
- Companies should ensure they take the necessary steps to fully enforce their harmful content and misinformation policies across all languages and dialects. Heightened tensions make it especially likely that some content which may have previously been viewed as harmless, will incite or fuel offline harm today. While the war is ongoing and Jews are facing imminent danger, companies must review content with this specific context in mind.
- Companies should expeditiously partner with appropriate stakeholders who can assist in identifying claims concerning the conflict that are false, likely to contribute to a risk of imminent violence or physical harm, or for which authoritative sources are absent.
- Companies should not make changes to their existing policies that would result in increasing the visibility and distribution of antisemitic content, misinformation likely to contribute to a risk of harm, or content that conveys support for the murder of civilians or for individuals and organizations that are motivated by violent antisemitic ideologies.
We know that you, as leaders in the technology industry, understand the great responsibility you hold. We urge you to take action to promote online discourse that privileges fact-checked, verified information; does not celebrate or promote terror; and does not further jeopardize vulnerable communities.
Thank you for your consideration.
World Jewish Congress
Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations
Jewish Federations of North America
B'nai B'rith International
European Jewish Congress
European Union of Jewish Students
Combat Antisemitism Movement
The JCC Association of North America
The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council
American Zionist Movement
Board of Deputies of British Jews
Confederation of Israelite Associations of Venezuela
Coordinating Committee of Jewish Organisations in Belgium
Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (Canada)
Central Israel Committee of Uruguay
Community Service Trust, United Kingdom
Confederation of the Jewish Communities of Colombia
Federation of Jewish Communities in Czech Republic
Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain
Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society
HIAS-JCORE (United Kingdom)
Israel Community of El Salvador
Israel Confederation of Brazil
Jewish Community of Argentina (AMIA)
Jewish Community of Ecuador
Jewish Community of Chile
Jewish Community of Guatemala
Jewish Community of Lithuania
Jewish Confederation of Ukraine
Jewish Forum of Mexico
Jewish Representative Committee of Paraguay
Jewish Representative Council of Ireland
Jewish Taiwan Cultural Exchange Association
Latvian Council of Jewish Communities
Panama Jewish Congress
Maccabee Task Force
Minyan on the Palm - Jewish Community of Dubai
Myanmar Jewish Community
The National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry
Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria “Shalom”
Rabbinical Assembly and United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
The Union of Belarusian Jewish Public Associations and Communities
Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America