Social media inaction on anti-Semitism 'amounts to complicity', says Chief Rabbi

27 July 2020, 09:59

Britain&squot;s Chief Rabbi has accused Twitter of lacking "responsible leadership" in its response to anti-Semitic posts by grime artist Wiley
Britain's Chief Rabbi has accused Twitter of lacking "responsible leadership" in its response to anti-Semitic posts by grime artist Wiley. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The Chief Rabbi has said Twitter and Facebook lack "responsible leadership" over their response to anti-Semitic messages by grime artist Wiley.

The two platforms have been criticised for their slow response to the posts by the artist after he posted a “venomous” succession of offensive tweets from his Twitter and Instagram accounts over the weekend. 

Ephraim Mirvis said he would join politicians, celebrities and other high-profile figures in a 48-hour boycott of the social media sites from 9am on Monday.

Campaigners have accused Twitter of "ignoring anti-Semitism" as the rapper's tweets were still visible 12 hours after they were first posted.

The Jewish leader addressed the matter in letters sent to Twitter boss Jack Dorsey and Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, he said: "This cannot be allowed to stand. Your inaction amounts to complicity."

Maajid Nawaz pulls apart Wiley's anti-semitic tweets

As we reported over the weekend police are now investigating a series of comments made on the musician's Instagram and Twitter accounts on Friday that led to him being banned from both for seven days.

Using the hashtag #NoSafeSpaceForJewHate, a number of high-profile Twitter users have announced their support for a planned boycott of the site in protest over the company's handling of the incident.

Among those confirming they would take part was shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy, who tweeted her support alongside the message "#Solidarity", as did fellow Labour MP Stella Creasy and Conservative MP Brendan Clarke-Smith, who said: "Anti-Semitism has no place in society and there should be zero tolerance of it."

Grime artist Wiley dropped by management after anti-Semitism claims

The official Labour Party account tweeted that it supports those taking part but as the official opposition with the duty of holding the Government to account it "cannot afford to be absent from social media platforms".

Other prominent figures to announce their support included Lord Sugar, consumer champion Martin Lewis, TV presenter Rachel Riley and comedian Shappi Khorsandi.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said on Sunday that platforms need to act faster to remove "such appalling hatred" from their sites.

"The anti-Semitic posts from Wiley are abhorrent," she said in a tweet.

"They should not have been able to remain on Twitter and Instagram for so long and I have asked them for a full explanation.

"Social media companies must act much faster to remove such appalling hatred from their platforms."

Twitter and Facebook have both previously been accused of not doing enough to stop the spread of hate speech and harmful content on their platforms.

New regulation to better hold online companies to account is currently being prepared by the Government.

Twitter has previously said "abuse and harassment" have "no place" on its service and that it takes enforcement action over accounts which violate its rules addressing hateful conduct.