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October 19, 2020 9:20 am

Twitter, Google Decline to Be in State Department Event Countering Antisemitism

avatar by Jackson Richman / JNS.org

The Twitter App loads on an iPhone in this illustration photograph taken in Los Angeles, California, US, July 22, 2019. Photo: REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo.

JNS.org – Twitter and Google declined to participate in next week’s US State Department event, featuring US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on countering antisemitism on the Internet and social media—the first event of its kind in the department’s history, US Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Antisemitism Elan Carr told JNS on Thursday.

Facebook and TikTok each sent a senior representative to the pre-recorded event, which will be broadcasted for the first time Oct. 21-22.

Titled “Ancient Hatred, Modern Medium,” the event will also feature US Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; Israeli Tourism and Strategic Affairs Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen; British Cabinet Officer Minister Michael Gove; United Arab Emirates Federal National Council Member Ali Al Nuaimi; International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance president Ambassador Michaela Küchler; European Commission Coordinator on Combating Antisemitism Katharina von Schnurbein; and UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief Ahmed Shaheed.

The decision by Twitter and Google, both of which did not respond to a request for comment, comes as Facebook announced this week that it would ban posts denying and distorting the Holocaust—a move that Carr, also part of the virtual event, applauded.

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“Holocaust denial or distortion is absolutely antisemitic. It meets the [International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance] definition of antisemitism,” he told JNS on Thursday. “I welcome Facebook’s recognition that Holocaust denial or distortion is antisemitism.”

“One of the things that particularly excites me about Facebook’s announcement is that it’s going to be referring its users shortly to off-platform credible sources of education on Holocaust history,” he continued. “I think that is incredibly important and is exactly in keeping with the spirit of the First Amendment where despicable hateful speech is met with accurate and educational speech.”

Carr went on to say that the Facebook move “has the potential truly to elevate the human condition. If these powerful platforms use their abilities to educate their users, it could be a game-changer for not only the fight against antisemitism, but more broadly, the fight against all kinds of disinformation and hate-filled ideologies that are being propagated by means of the Internet and social media.”

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