Star of David taken down by Twitter, citing ‘hateful imagery’

Jul 28, 2020 World Jewish News
 

The Star of David has been deemed “hateful imagery” by Twitter, which is locking the accounts of users who display it in their profile pictures.

 

The Campaign Against Antisemitism has reported that several Twitter users have contacted them in recent days to report that their accounts had been locked by the social media platform. The reason given? According to messages they received from Twitter: “We have determined that this account violated the Twitter Rules. Specifically for: Violating our rules against posting hateful imagery. You may not use hateful images or symbols in your profile image or profile header. As a result, we have locked your account.”

 
The images in question ranged from a white Star of David in a graffiti style, to a superimposition of the modern blue star on the flag of Israel spliced with the yellow star Jews were forced to wear by the Nazis, to a montage of yellow stars.
 

Stephen Silverman, Director of Investigations and Enforcement at Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “So often social media companies claim that they lack the resources to tackle hate on their platforms, but Twitter has put the lie to that claim by demonstrating that it does have the resources, but chooses to target the benign symbol of a victimized minority instead of the countless racists who use its platform with impunity.

 

“Twitter must immediately restore these accounts, apologize to the owners, and pledge finally to take robust action against the antisemites whom it has enabled for so long.”

 

This is not the first time that Twitter has come in for criticism over apparent endemic antisemitism. Last week the platform was accused of inciting anti-Jewish hatred after it refused to take action when the hashtag #JewishPrivilege began trending. The tag was used to promote antisemitic messages on the platform such as “#JewishPrivilege is being born into a world where your ancestors have ‘progressive-ly’ transformed an entire civilization into a Jewish ‘utopia’ by inverting its formerly Christian values into their exact opposites,” and “#JewishPrivilege is running the Slave Trade, owning the Slave Ships and owning the Cotton Plantations but constantly blaming Slavery on White people with the very media that you completely control.”

 

Eventually Jewish Twitter users fought back, using the tag in an ironic manner to highlight the antisemitism that they and their family had faced over the years.

 

Silverman added: “It is deplorable enough that Twitter consistently fails to act against antisemitism on its platform, but now it is taking action against Jews for the simple crime of showing pride in their identity by displaying a Star of David. It never fails to astound just how low Twitter is prepared to go.”

 

“We want to clarify some questions about hateful imagery on Twitter. We categorically do not consider the Star of David as a hateful symbol or hateful image. We have for some time seen the ‘yellow star’ or ‘yellow badge’ symbol being used by those seeking to target Jewish people,” the company wrote. “This is a violation of the Twitter Rules, and our Hateful Conduct Policy prohibits the promotion of violence against – or threats of attack towards – people on the basis of categories such as religious affiliation, race and ethnic origin.”

 

“While the majority of cases were correctly actioned, some accounts highlighted recently were mistakes and have now been restored.
We’re grateful to @antisemitism @ADL @CST_UK and others for bringing this to our attention and for their partnership in tackling antisemitism.”