Antisemitic content on the social media platform TikTok has increased by 912%, according to a new study.
According to research from Dr Gabriel Weimann of the University of Haifa and Natalie Masri of IDC Herzliya’s Institute for Counter-Terrorism, antisemitic comments on TikTok grew 912% from 41 in 2020 to 415 in 2021, and the platform saw 61 antisemitic postings so far this year compared to 43 last year.
Antisemitic tropes and images that were used in video content included Nazi salutes, diminishing the impact of the Holocaust, and propagating caricatures of Jews with long, hooked noses.
Antisemitic usernames, such as “@holocaustwasgood” and “@eviljews”, increased a staggering 1,375% from four in 2020 to 59 in 2021.
Dr Weimann expressed concern that the platform’s algorithm lends itself to suggesting further hateful content to users who may have clicked on dangerous videos, rather than restricting them. He said that “TikTok’s catering to young, impressionable and naive audiences, combined with bad-faith actors who are posting hateful content online, is something that should be taken very seriously,” before warning that some users may fall down “a rabbit hole of hatred.”
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “This dramatic increase in antisemitism on TikTok is an urgent concern, particularly because of the platform’s appeal to younger users.
“Social media platforms can act as hotspots for the dissemination of racist tropes and conspiracy theories. Technology companies, therefore, have a responsibility to enforce their own policies, ensure their algorithms do not promote antisemitic material and remove dangerous posts and ban repeat offenders.
“Last year, a TikTok Director declared the company’s intention to intensify its removal of antisemitic content. Instead, the reverse appears to be the case. TikTok must prove it is serious about tackling antisemitism not with empty words but with real action.”
This report follows a similar one released last year which revealed that the social media platform was infested with far-right antisemitism and Holocaust denial.
In May, Lily Ebert, a Holocaust survivor and educator, had her TikTok videos targeted by antisemitic trolls praising Hitler.
In October of last year, a director at TikTok told a Knesset Committee that hatred had “no place” on the video-sharing platform and that they would increase their efforts to remove antisemitic content.