Online Giants Getting Better at Taking Down Antisemitic Content in Spanish, Watchdog Finds

In 2016, about 30 percent of Spanish-language search results for the word 'judio' contained antisemitic content. That figure is now down to about three percent, report says

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The logos of Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, Google and Facebook Messenger, as seen on a tablet, October 1, 2019.
The logos of Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, Google and Facebook Messenger, as seen on a tablet, October 1, 2019.Credit: DENIS CHARLET - AFP
JTA

Google, Facebook and YouTube are successfully removing large percentages of the antisemitic content in Spanish from their platforms, a Buenos Aires-based watchdog has found.

The Web Observatory, or Observatorio Web – a joint initiative between the Latin American Jewish Congress, a regional branch of the World Jewish Congress; the DAIA political umbrella organization for Argentina’s Jewish community; and the AMIA Jewish community center – released a report September 25 on the prevalence of online antisemitism in Spanish. In 2016, about 30 percent of Spanish-language online search results for the word “Jew” – “Judio” in Spanish – contained anti-Semitic content. That figure is now down to about three percent, the report finds.

The quantity of antisemitic content in the top 10 results of a Google search for the term alone has dropped by 50 percent over the past year.

Spanish is the second most popular language used on Facebook, and about 30 percent of the content mentioning Jews on the platform in Spanish involves antisemitism, the report found. Within the antisemitic content, about 65 percent of it involved the word “Zionism,” and about 40 percent involved the word “Israel.”

“Israel and Zionism are the vehicles for antisemitism online, this is a consolidated trend,” the report states.

In the case of YouTube, Observatorio Web identified 500 videos in Spanish espousing Holocaust denial, which YouTube has now taken down.

“The companies are starting to work against hate speech, but there is still a lot to do yet,” Obervatorio Web Director Ariel Siedler told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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