Non-profit fights online antisemitism with open database

CyberWell has launched what it describes as the “world’s first” live and open database of antisemitic content generated across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.

The non-profit company, established in 2022, aims to use technology to collect examples of antisemitism online so that it can be “studied and stopped”.

The news comes after HateAid and The European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS) filed a lawsuit against Twitter for failing to remove a series of antisemitic Tweets, some of which denied the holocaust.

The lawsuit says that six antisemitic comments, made after Elon Musk bought Twitter, were not taken down from the platform despite being reported to the social media giant.

CyberWell is now working with Bright Web Scraper IDE – through the Bright Initiative – to help with the automatic collection of data from social media platforms at scale.

The organisation then creates real-time alerts that are tailored for each social media platform and shared for them to "address and act upon".

CyberWell has already identified over 100,000 pieces of content based on key phrases and narratives guided by the working definition from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

After identifying cases of antisemitism, the team then report infracting content and monitor how long it takes for that content to be removed.

Last year, CyberWell vetted and reported more than 2,000 instances of antisemitic content, identifying an average removal rate of around 24 per cent across the five platforms.

When Ye – formerly Kanye West – made several antisemitic comments last year, CyberWell found that this lead to an almost 128 per cent increase in antisemitic content vetted by the business compared with the previous month.

The CyberWell team also identified five antisemitic narratives and a series of hashtags (e.g #KanyeIsRight, #YeIsRight, #SynagogueOfSatan) that appeared in content supporting Ye or his statements.

“Since the social media channels themselves are failing to remove this dangerous content effectively, our initiative relies on public web data to identify, track and report hate content that is increasingly amplified by millions when left online,” said Tal-Or Cohen Montemayor, founder and executive director, CyberWell.“Access to open-source public social media data is key to stopping these escalating waves of hate.”

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