Online hate surges after Hamas attacks Israel. Why everyone is blaming social media

USAToday - Allison Josephs got a bone-chilling threat in 2012 from someone who identified herself as Becky. “Hitler should have finished his good work,” the message read. The writer said she had her Louisville Slugger ready for the “next chance we get.”

The frequency of hate-filled social media posts targeting Jews has only increased since then, said Josephs, a mother of four who runs the nonprofit Jew in the City. 

So she said she was not surprised by the wave of online hate immediately following the deadly attacks in Israel as people celebrated Hamas’ acts of terror, striking fear of more violence to come.

“From a social media perspective, it’s already been so bad, it’s kind of hard for it to get worse,” Josephs said.

But it is getting worse. Groups who study online hate speech say it has spiked in recent days – not just for Jewish communities but also for Palestinians, who have faced increasing online hatred. And representatives of both communities agree on one thing: U.S.-based social media companies are still not doing anywhere near enough to rid their platforms of hate against targeted groups.

The escalation in harsh rhetoric comes at a time when online hate speech was already increasing, experts said. In the weeks before the conflict, the ADL was locked in a bitter dispute with X, formerly Twitter, over Elon Musk’s alleged promotion of extremists and hands-off approach to content moderation. Meanwhile, 7amleh, an Arab civil rights organization has been meeting with X for months, trying to persuade the company to quell hate speech against Palestinians.

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