European Jewish leaders have welcomed a decision by Chinese video-sharing social networking service TikTok to join the European Union’s Code of Conduct against illegal online hate speech.
It comes after Jewish schools in London, such as JFS, warned parents against a graphic video of a livestreamed suicide originally uploaded to TikTok, which struggled to remove it and subsequent uploads, causing viewers distress.
Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the Conference of European Rabbis, said he welcomed TikTok’s “belated” decision to join, but said: “For years, social media has served as a platform for the promotion of discriminatory and bigoted views without any consequences for those who espouse them.”
Just last month Israel’s Parliament – the Knesset – accused TikTok of “shunning” its efforts to combat online antisemitism after company representatives “refused to attend” a key meeting.
Israeli lawmakers and tech bosses had been discussing ways to eradicate online Jew hatred, with Google, Facebook and Twitter all represented at a meeting hosted by the Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs.
However, a Knesset spokesman said TikTok “refused to send a representative” – a charge the company did not deny in its response to enquiries from this newspaper.
This week Goldschmidt “We need a collaborative approach from all tech giants, including Facebook and Twitter, to address these factors and diminish the promotion of hate speech.
“Unlike hate groups of the past, extremist movements of recent times have been successful in normalising their key messages through their ability to post series of hateful propaganda to their followers on a regular basis.
“Up until this, such instances have gone untreated and no efforts have been made despite continued calls to eradicate online abuse. We urge the other tech giants to follow suit.”