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May 1, 2020 9:55 am

Jewish Founder of Craigslist Gives ADL $1 Million to Tackle Online Hate Speech

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Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. Photo: ADL. – The Jewish billionaire philanthropist and founder of the website Craigslist gave a $1 million grant to the Anti-Defamation League to support its efforts to detect, expose and counter online hate speech, the ADL announced on Tuesday.

The two-year grant from Craig Newmark, 67, who has an estimated $1.3 billion net worth, will directly aid the work of ADL’s Center on Technology and Society, including its initiative called Online Hate Index (OHI), while also helping to the organization’s various efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The OHI “provides standardized measures of hate speech,” and uncovers and identifies “trends and patterns in hate speech across different online platforms” using mechanism based on artificial intelligence and machine learning, and a social-science methodology applied by a team of human coders, according to the ADL.

“We know that the pandemic has had an outsized impact on vulnerable minority groups, including Asian Americans and Jewish Americans who are now being blamed and scapegoated online for creating and spreading the virus,” said Newmark, now a full-time philanthropist who is also the founder of Craig Newmark Philanthropies. “Now more than ever, it is vital to invest in innovative approaches to detect and stop hate speech from spreading online.”

“With the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the nation and more extremists moving online, this grant could not come at a more critical moment,” said ADL National Director and CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. “We are deeply grateful and honored to be counted among Newmark grantees: organizations that monitor and fight disinformation and online harassment.”

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