Amnesty responds to complaints about unmoderated anti-Semitic comments

December 17, 2013 by J-Wire Staff
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On Friday the 6th of December, Amnesty International posted an online petition “End the violent harassment of Nabi Saleh villagers protesting Israeli settlement” and removed a number of offensive, abhorrent and hateful anti-Semitic and anti-Palestinian statements which were made by individuals on our Facebook page in response to this online petition.

Amnesty-AUs-LogoFollowing the publication on J-Wire of some of those comments, Amnesty has issued the following statement: “Unfortunately at the beginning of last week the staff member responsible for moderation was away due to a family emergency, meaning some offensive comments remained on the page for longer than usual.

Amnesty International sincerely and unreservedly apologise for any offense caused.

Where we can, we allow for robust debate between posters with different views to allow for exchanges of ideas. But if any personal attacks or profanity is used, these comments are removed as soon as possible.

We continue to receive hundreds of comments on this petition and our online team has been doing regular monitoring and sweeps of the comments, continuously removing offensive anti-Semitic and anti-Palestinian posts.

Additionally, while we moderate comments during work hours, it is unfortunately not possible to do this on a 24 hour basis. If comments are made outside of this time frame, and are found to be offensive, they are removed as soon as possible. In some extreme cases, the people making these posts have have had their posting capabilities blocked.

Amnesty International is absolutely opposed to, and actively condemns hate speech and the vilification of individuals based on their religion, gender, sexuality or political beliefs.

A spokesperson for Amnesty International told J-Wire: “We absolutely apologise for any offence that was caused, hate speech of any kind is not acceptable and we want to make sure that everyone on our page feels the freedom to speak their mind, within reason. Profanities and personal attacks are not allowed and completely violate our terms. As soon as we were notified, they were removed and some posters blocked from our page and reported to Facebook for obscenity.”

We strongly encourage followers of our Facebook page to make their voices heard while respecting the rights of their fellow posters online.

Facebook’s Terms of Use policy, of which the organisation adheres to are listed below:

General prohibitions

You must not upload, post, transmit or otherwise make available through this site any material which:

  • violates or infringes the rights of others (including their privacy and publicity rights);
  • is unlawful, threatening, abusive, defamatory, invasive of privacy, vulgar, obscene, profane or which may harass or cause distress or inconvenience to, or incite hatred of, any person;
  • encourages conduct that would constitute a criminal offence, give rise to civil liability or otherwise violate any law;
  • restricts or inhibits any other user from using or enjoying this site;
  • affects the functionality or operation of this site or its servers or the functionality or operation of any users’ computer systems (for example, by transmitting a computer virus or other harmful component, whether or not knowingly);
  • or breaches any standards, content requirements or codes promulgated by any relevant authority, including authorities which require us to take remedial action under any applicable industry code.

It must also be noted that we have reminded posters on our page to ensure they follow these guidelines when posting, following recent commentary.”

The executive director of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry Peter Wertheim raised the alarm about the offending material. He told J-Wire: ““The apology from Amnesty is appreciated, but the problem is far from resolved.  The ECAJ first drew this issue to the media’s attention on Thursday, December 12.  At that time the racist content had been on the Amnesty Oz Facebook page for 4 days.

So the fact that Amnesty’s social media moderator was away from work on Friday the 13th is beside the point.

The media first reported the ECAJ complaint on Monday, December 16, and the offending content was removed the following day with an apology.

It is sad that Amnesty Oz only acted after the story appeared in the media. Further, the apology itself fails to acknowledge the specifically antisemitic nature of many of the posted comments or provide answers as to why such comments were not removed from Amnesty’s Facebook page for the 4 days prior to the absence of their staff member, or what it is about Amnesty’s posted story that attracted such an outpouring of racist comment in the first place.”


3 Responses to “Amnesty responds to complaints about unmoderated anti-Semitic comments”
  1. Harry says:

    It,s great that J wire has been active to have antisemitic comments by Amnesty International removed.

    • Sam says:

      J-Wire responsible for the removal of antisemitic comments? Get a life. neither is the pathetic ECAJ. 100s of people were complaining to AI before this lot knew about it. Jewish and other Facebook groups were running hot way before that. My facebook messages start from 9 Dec

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