On the 14th of September 2020, B’nai B’rith Europe, along with major Jewish organizations working with the EU institutions – B’nai B’rith International, AJCTI, EJC, CEJI, WJC and EUJS – launched a unified position on tackling antisemitism online, in response to the Digital Services Act consultation by the European Commission.
As the European Union looks to redefine its approach to digital governance under the motto A Europe fit for the Digital Age, maintaining a safe online space, free of hate and incitement must be a key priority.
The joint call offers 10 recommendations for the future legislation to effectively tackle antisemitic content online and demand higher accountability from online platforms and service providers.
Among the demands formulated are the push for platforms to adopt the IHRA working definition of antisemitism as part of their community standards, data collection and analysis to better understand the spread of antisemitism online, platform transparency with regard to algorithms, support for civil society actors to be effective parts of the conversation and a call to disincentivize profit stemming from harmful content.
A 2018 Fundamental Rights Agency survey on Experiences and Perceptions of Antisemitism among Jews in the EU found that 89% of respondents consider antisemitism expressed online as a problem and 80% of those experiencing antisemitic abuse have encountered it online. These worrying statistics have only been further exacerbated by the Covid19 pandemic which has created an environment ripe with disinformation and conspiracies.
A revised EU digital framework must tackle head on the role and responsibility of online platforms and must guarantee users’ safety.