Facebook, YouTube pledge to fight antisemitism

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Representatives from Facebook and YouTube pledged to contribute to reducing the spread of online hate speech at a Holocaust remembrance conference in Sweden amid claims that social media was increasing antisemitism globally. 

At the International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance in Malmo on Wednesday, the social media platforms said they would crack down on enforcing rules surrounding hate speech and disinformation, The Associated Press reported.

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said the social media giant is “now removing 15 times more hate speech than we were just five years ago. And we are not going to stop,” according to the AP.

Pedro Pina, who leads YouTube in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, also said that the video platform owned by Google would contribute $5.8 million to the cause, the AP added. 

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen referred to the issue of antisemitism as “a threat to Jewish people, but it is also a poison for our democracies, our values and our open societies” and said the EU would create “a network of young European ambassadors for Holocaust remembrance,” per the AP. 

The U.S. also committed to providing $1 million to condemn online antisemitic hate speech in the Mideast and North Africa, the wire service reported.

“Our priorities include condemning and countering antisemitism, ensuring physical security for Jewish communities, supporting Holocaust education, especially for young people, protecting religious freedom and urging countries to commit more deeply to the fight against hate speech online,” U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that in a video message, per the AP.

World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder added at a press conference on Wednesday that Jewish organizations “want governments to start making laws against putting hate on the internet,” according to the AP.

“We will fight and fight that struggle, and we’re not to be silenced,” Lauder added. “Silence is what makes antisemitism grow.”

The Hill has reached out to Facebook and YouTube for comment.

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