January 24, 2023

Press Release | Holocaust Denial on Social Media Remains in English, Rife in Arabic

CyberWell’s data shows a startling gap between English and Arabic when it comes to removing Holocaust denial.

Logo for CyberWell, the first-ever open database of online antisemitism

[24 January 2023] As International Holocaust Remembrance Day forces Jews to ask themselves how safe they feel, new data from CyberWell has revealed social media companies’ underinvestment in monitoring antisemitism and Holocaust denial in English and Arabic.

Research has found that social media platforms only remove 20% of all antisemitic content on their sites. Data from ethical tech start-up, CyberWell shows that platforms police Holocaust denial content more aggressively than other forms of antisemitism, resulting in a removal rate of 36% – but only in English. In Arabic, the rate plummets to 10%.

“These findings fit with what we’ve learned in studying how social media companies respond to hate speech: platforms will only devote resources to keeping users safe if enough people report problems, which puts Jews at a disadvantage,” said CyberWell founder and CEO Tal-Or Cohen.

Gidon Lev, a Holocaust Survivor who counteracts antisemitism by sharing his experiences with over 400 thousand followers on Instagram and TikTok, voiced his frustration with content enforcement. “Social media allows antisemitic hate and Holocaust denial to be shared directly to the people with no check or filter. Given how fast hate can spread online, social media companies have a responsibility to stem the tide”

The IHRA definition of antisemitism, which CyberWell uses to classify antisemitic content, describes eleven main categories of antisemitism, two of which deal directly with the Holocaust.

Many social media platforms have taken significant steps to limit such content; neither Facebook nor TikTok will return results for the query “Holohoax,” and searching for that term on Facebook will produce a link to Holocaust information provided by the World Jewish Congress (WJC). That picture changes in Arabic, however; the WJC link is not provided to those searching for Holocaust denial.

CyberWell’s database, powered by their advanced AI-based effort to monitor social media for antisemitic content, shows that similar posts questioning or denying the Holocaust are removed in English but remain online in Arabic.

“Reprehensible content is reprehensible in all languages,” said Cohen.

“Social media platforms’ overreliance on user reports and underinvestment in combatting Jew-hatred online in non-English languages has allowed blatant hate to proliferate in Arabic; by alerting them to these data insights, we hope to direct their attention toward fixing the problem.”

To explore CyberWell’s live interactive database of online antisemitism, visit https://app.cyberwell.org/.


About CyberWell

CyberWell is the world’s first live database of online antisemitism, using cutting-edge technology to collect digital hate so it can be studied and stopped. CyberWell’s platform is designed to drive the enforcement and improvement of community standards and hate speech policies across the digital space.

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