Further to “ Female politicians and journalists suffer hate speech on Twitter every 30 seconds” (December 19): Amnesty International’s report on the racist and misogynistic abuse that is extensive on Twitter is a call to action on the part of social media companies and those individuals and organisations that use social media to make sure it is not used in abusive, harassing and hateful ways, and to demand that social media companies do more to prevent incitement to violence on their platforms and respect the rights of women and minorities. There is still a great deal that companies such as Twitter, Facebook and Google can do to better ensure the safety and welfare of their users.
Amnesty International also needs to address other forms of hate speech and bigotry on social media, including anti-Semitism. Amnesty International UK, in particular, has failed to take up the issue of anti-Semitism in a substantive and serious way, undermining its credibility and its commitment to universal human rights. It will need to make a real effort to correct this and to make a sustained contribution to efforts to address the hate speech and abuse online and in social media in particular — including anti-Semitism — that is so profoundly harmful to individuals, communities, and society as a whole, and which violates the rights, dignity and freedom of those individuals and groups under attack.
Visiting Associate Professor of Ethics and International Affairs,
Elliott School of International Affairs,
George Washington University, US
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