Hateful Posts and False Content Still Thriving on Social Media

After the shooting in Pittsburgh this weekend, anti-Semitic messages surged on Instagram.

social media
A makeshift memorial is seen outside the Tree of Life Congregation October 30, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images

So much for standing up to hate.

If you searched Instagram on Monday, you would find a torrent of anti-Semitic images and videos uploaded in the wake of Saturday’s shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

A search for the word “Jews” displayed 11,696 posts with the hashtag “#jewsdid911,” which claims that Jews had orchestrated the Sept. 11 terror attacks, reports The New York Times. Other hashtags on the photo sharing app referenced Nazi ideology, including the number 88, an abbreviation used for the Nazi salute “Heil Hitler.”

These posts demonstrate a stark reality. Over the last 10 years, Silicon Valley’s social media companies have become commonplace around the world. But it has become increasingly apparent that the companies still do not understand the negative consequences of that influence nor what to do about it — and that no matter what, they cannot “put the genie back in the bottle,” writes The Times. 

“Social media is emboldening people to cross the line and push the envelope on what they are willing to say to provoke and to incite,” said Jonathan Albright, research director at Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism, according to The Times. “The problem is clearly expanding.”

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