Twitter has made it more difficult for its partners, including Campaign Against Antisemitism, to report racist hate on its platform.
Last summer, Twitter invited Campaign Against Antisemitism to become a ‘Twitter partner’, allowing us to report problematic material directly through the company’s ‘partner portal’ to Twitter personnel (rather than machines) for review. Following our experience to date, we recently published a damning report, which prompted major national media coverage, showing how Twitter fails to implement consistently its own policies on hate.
However, Twitter appears to have reacted by making it even harder for us and its other so-called ‘partners’ to report hateful material to the company, in two ways.
First, reference numbers for reports are now not expressly connected to the specific tweets reported, making it impossible to report multiple tweets over short periods, which is precisely what partners are supposed to be empowered to do.
Second, Twitter has removed the option for ‘hate directed at a group’ as the basis for reporting a tweet. Although it remains possible to submit reports through other, less relevant options, the apparent removal of the hate option is a regressive step that makes reporting hate on Twitter more difficult and indicates that Twitter is not prioritising tackling racism on its platform.
Stephen Silverman, Director of Investigations and Enforcement at Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “Twitter has an endless capacity to lower the bar when it comes to antisemitism. Not only has it abjectly failed to tackle anti-Jewish racism on its platform, contrary to its nicely-worded statements and policies, and to listen to our advice or agree to offers or antisemitism training for staff, but now it has made it more difficult for third parties to monitor and report hate by other users. There comes a point when apathy becomes complicity, and Twitter is very quickly reaching it.”
Recently, Oliver Dowden, the Culture Secretary, has reiterated his call on social media companies to take action against hate on their platforms. “They must face up to their responsibilities, clean up their sites immediately and need not wait until they are forced to act by the government,” he said, adding: “I will continue to work closely with community leaders to hold the feet of social media companies to the fire so they deliver on their promises.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism has long called for tougher regulations on social media sites and that social networks proactively search for and remove hate speech from their platforms. We also continue to make representations to the Government on this matter.