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May 18, 2018 9:43 am

Israel Report: Antisemitic Content Running Amuk on Russian Social Media

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, May 9, 2018. Photo: Sergei Ilnitsky / Pool / File photo via Reuters. – While Facebook is taking steps to rid its platform of racist and inciting content, Russian-language social media sites are reportedly letting such material run rampant.

As such, it is being seen by hundreds of millions of people, according to a new report from the program Israeli Students Combating Anti-Semitism, a collaboration between the National Union of Israeli Students and the Foreign Ministry.

The report focuses on the two most popular Russian-language social media sites: VKontakte, which is similar to Facebook and has at least 477 million registered users; and (Odnoklassniki), which has some 200 million registered users.

These two platforms have published antisemitic cartoons with captions such as “It’s time to get rid of the Jews and shoot them,” “The Jews are against religion and linked to Satan,” as well as images such as a photo of a Holocaust memorial defaced with graffiti reading “Heil Hitler” and “Death to Jews.”

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The head of the program, Tomer Aldobi, explained to Israel Hayom that technically, Russian-language sites officially have terms and conditions that prohibit users from posting antisemitic content, and allow users to report antisemitic and other hate content. However, he added “it’s very complicated to get content removed from Russian social media sites, especially these past few years.”

Zionist Union Knesset member Ksenia Svetlova condemned the findings, saying: “Online antisemitism is rampant in the post-Soviet space. I am horrified at the [users’] crude words and the detachment from reality.”

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