Digital companies doing a poor job of curbing hate online: Report

Photo credit Cindy Ord/Getty Images

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) — The Simon Wiesenthal Center has released its 28th annual Digital Terrorism and Hate Report Card, which grades social media, video, gaming, music sharing and marketplace companies on how well — or how poorly — they curb online hate.

The report was released in partnership with Cook County United Against Hate. Cook County Cmsr. Scott Britton, who found anti-Semitic literature on his North Shore driveway in 2022, said the report is sobering.

“The Digital Hate Report Card is a horrible reminder that people hate and will use every means to recruit new members to expand their violent ends,” he said. “We must address the methods of outreach organizing fundraising, which is increasingly online.”

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Global Social Action Director, said TikTok tops the list of problem apps as a popular rabbit hole for those seeking hate. But TikTok’s not the only one, he said.

“Even if they’re not looking for it, it’s going to come at them, and once you have young people in the hold of bigots, racists [and] anti-Semites … there’s a whole subculture of hate that’s waiting,” he said.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said it’s important for the county government to partner in this effort.

“This information also shines a light on businesses that fail to lead and take action,” Preckwinkle said.

Cooper said there’s hate music to download on Spotify, for example, and added that Nazi jewelry has been for sale on Amazon.

“The head of the FBI confirmed that, in 2021, there was a record high of reported hate crimes of 11,000 such incidents across the United States — the largest number ever,” Cooper said.

The rabbi said that number was probably underreported.

The complete 2023 report card can be found here.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Cindy Ord/Getty Images