WJC @ UNHRC Forum on Minority Issues: Online hate speech
Representative delivering the statement: Mrs. Dina Wyler, WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps member
Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Tiktok. While these platforms enable us to connect with one another and inform us about what is going on in the world, they also pose an immense threat to a peaceful and open society by enabling the spread of hate speech.
Of course, one could argue that racism and antisemitism exist for much longer than the internet, one can’t deny that it has made things much more complex and therefore harder to fight.
The internet gives hate a global platform reaching millions of people all around the world within seconds and with limited control mechanisms. Secondly, it is much harder to make people accountable for their actions online. Finally, it has become increasingly difficult to monitor and report those cases due to constantly changing modalities to spread hate speech through memes, pictures or symbols that are difficult to identify.
Antisemitism thrives wildly under these circumstances and conspiracy theories such as Qanon follow century old antisemitic narratives such as the myth of a secret elites running the world behind the scenes and drinking the blood of innocent children.
Condemning online hate speech is not enough. We want to see actions taken to protect minorities who are the most at risk. Steps have been taken in the recent past, by social media platforms. This, however, is not enough.
Since this is a problem of global significance, fighting it on an international level is key and the UN should lead the way by building a global strategy to monitor and collect data on hate speech and supporting private initiatives on the ground who have already established innovative approaches to fight online hate. The UN charter declares that it is the organization’s duty to prevent and remove threats to peace and suppress acts of aggression. We take the UN up on this promise. It is our shared moral obligation to fight online hate speech together.