New York Attorney General Letitia James is demanding answers from social media companies after she says antisemitic and Islamophobic content has spread online following the initiation of the Israel-Hamas War.
James sent letters to Google, Meta, X, TikTok, Reddit and Rumble with a list of questions on how each is responding to calls for violence that have spread on their platforms over the last week. Specifically, James inquired about how the companies’ content moderating policies and terms of service are being used to reduce hateful threats and plan violent acts.
She also asked for the specifics of internal policies that dictate whether content is a call for violence, and what the policies are for disciplining, suspending and/or banning users for posting comment that’s been removed.
What You Need To Know
- New York Attorney General Letitia James is demanding answers from social media companies after antisemitic and Islamophobic content has spread online over recent days
- James sent letters to Google, Meta, X, TikTok, Reddit and Rumble with a list of questions on how each is responding to calls for violence
- Misinformation has also been spreading online since the war started
“In the wake of Hamas’ unspeakable atrocities, social media has been widely used by bad actors to spread horrific material, disseminate threats, and encourage violence,” James said in a statement. “These platforms have a responsibility to keep their users safe and prohibit the spread of violent rhetoric that puts vulnerable groups in danger.”
As of Wednesday, X, formerly known as Twitter, had more than 50 million posts focusing on the terrorist attacks. Not all of those posts contain accurate content, though, and unverified rumors and misleading videos have spread easily.
“We feel the need to share this information quickly because it’s important to us as human beings. But we also run the risk of amplifying this misinformation because of sharing it without thinking, or without looking at the sourcing of these videos,” Andrew Fitzgerald, an assistant professor of communication and media at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, told Spectrum News earlier this week.
Linda Yaccarino, the CEO of X, said Thursday the platform has removed or labeled tens of thousands of posts since the start of the war and has removed hundreds of Hamas-affiliated accounts. Yaccarino’s comments came after European Union Commissioner Thierry Breton said the EU had indications X was being used to disseminate illegal content and misinformation in Europe.
The liberal advocacy group Media Matters found that since Saturday, subscribers to X’s premium services have shared out-of-context and old videos that have collected millions of views. Other users have shared a fake White House news release saying the U.S. was sending $8 billion in aid to Israel, and an account pretending to be The Jerusalem Post posted that Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had been hospitalized.
“I am calling on these companies to explain how they are addressing threats,” James said, “and how they will ensure that no online platform is used to further terrorist activities.”