Antisemitic Admins

Meta’s failure to moderate the moderators in large Facebook Groups

Meta is failing to moderate admins of large Facebook Groups who promote dangerous anti-Jewish hate to over 300K members.

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An intro by CCDH CEO Imran Ahmed

Since the appalling Hamas terrorist atrocity in Israel on October 7th, there has been a corollary surge in antisemitism across all social media platforms, and in our communities. Antisemites have always flourished online, but in recent months there has been marked growth in content ranging from subtle dog whistles to explicit and unequivocal hate speech and incitement. One arena where bad actors have endeavored to advance their antisemitic agenda has been within online groups, camouflaging their antisemitism by cynically adopting pro-Palestinian or human rights language and themes to inculcate hatred against Jewish people.

This new study from CCDH started by examining the ways nefarious individuals have cynically embedded themselves in leadership positions in Facebook Groups that serve as meeting places for well-meaning people to express their solidarity with the Palestinian cause. We found that most content in these Groups primarily entailed political criticisms of the Israeli government and solidarity with Palestinian people. However, Facebook’s negligent design has made it easy for these groups to be run by antisemites who drip-feed lies and exhortations to hate and discrimination against Jews, while the platform itself fails to take responsibility for content moderation.

99% of the time, when we reported hate found in groups to Meta using the “safety tools” it loves to boast about to lawmakers, no action was taken.

In its total indifference to its moral responsibility to combat hate speech, Meta has effectively handed all content moderation powers to these Group admins. Those moderators, we found, were similarly poor at acting against hate in the groups they control.

Furthermore, we found evidence of coordinated activity among Group admins. When our researchers reported antisemitic posts to the admins and moderators in one Group, they were not only banned from that Group, but also from several other affiliated Facebook Groups who shared admins.

This shows the emptiness of the claim that this is all about free speech and counter-speech. If those expressing opposition to antisemitism are banned, but the moderators themselves revel in spreading and tolerating antisemitism, there is no debate. It is simply a free-for-all of increasing radicalization and normalization of ever-more-dangerous lies and prejudice against Jewish people.

Meta’s moderation practices are crucial information for regulators in the United Kingdom and European Union, where online safety legislation is largely dependent on social media platforms’ enforcing their community standards and reporting on their moderation actions. This report shows that Meta is delegating content moderation duties to volunteer admins who fail to uphold the company’s terms and conditions, and by extension fail in their duties to regulators.

Policymakers need to ensure independent oversight of moderation by empowering researchers through statutory data access pathways that are broadly available to civil society organizations set up to counter hate, and providing means for holding platforms accountable and economically responsible when they fail to uphold their policies and thereby impinge on the fundamental human rights to life, liberty and prosperity for our Jewish neighbors and friends.