Oliver Dowden’s letter to Facebook, Twitter, Google, Snapchat, and TikTok has said that although the Definition is not legally binding, it is “an invaluable tool for organisations to understand how antisemitism manifests itself in the 21st century and to tackle it.”
“It will require platforms to take effective steps to remove and limit the spread of illegal content, including criminal antisemitic abuse,” the letter added.
We recently reported that antisemitism on TikTok had increased by 912%, while on Twitter, abhorrent hashtags such as #HitlerWasRight, #HitlerTheGreat and #Holocaust_was_right were all trending internationally. However, Twitter has confirmed that it is reviewing Mr Dowden’s letter and reaffirmed its condemnation of antisemitism.
Recently, speaking at Bevis Marks, the oldest synagogue in Britain, about the Definition, Mr Dowden said: “There may be some practicalities about exactly how [social media giants] incorporate it, but the essence of the International Definition [of Antisemitism] I want them to adopt, just as the Government has committed to that.”
Last year, the Culture Secretary announced that social media companies will have a duty of care to users under new legislation, and that “criminal antisemitic posts will need to be removed without delay.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism has consistently backed efforts by the Government to encourage widespread adoption of the Definition by local authorities, universities, public bodies and other institutions. The UK was the first country in the world to adopt the Definition, something for which Campaign Against Antisemitism, Lord Pickles and others worked hard over many meetings with officials at Downing Street.