British Parliamentarian Calls on Twitter to Ban Anti-Semitic and Racist Abuse
A Jewish member of the British parliament has called on Twitter and other social media companies to ban the use of racist and anti-Semitic epithets on their sites.
Luciana Berger, a Labour Party MP who represents a constituency in the northern English city of Liverpool, was targeted by over 2,500 hate messages at the height of an internet campaign against her earlier this year. Many of them used an obscene hashtag, ‘#filthyjewb*tch.’ The London-based Jewish Chronicle revealed in October that the targeting of Berger was being organized by a United States-based neo-Nazi website.
“Twitter’s response isn’t good enough. It has a responsibility to do more to protect its users. The site is letting me and many others down who have been the subject of lots of hate,” Berger said.
The MP said that Twitter could tackle the problems of online racism and anti-Semitism in a number of ways.
“It could start by proactively banning racist words which aren’t allowed to printed in newspapers or broadcast on TV that could never be used in a positive way – such as kike – a derogatory and antisemitic term for describing a Jew,” she asserted.
Berger said she had made direct approaches to Twitter executives to suspend offensive users’ accounts. She now felt “let down” by the company.
“It took well over a week for some of the abusive content to be removed and even when it was, the approach was sporadic and very haphazard,” Berger said. “Twitter has made some improvements on the site and it’s important that you can report people – but when you are getting the level of abuse I was, it’s an onerous task reporting each and every person.”