Antisemitism spreads incredibly fast on Instagram

Supply is greater than demand, but antisemitic hashtags appear in unexpected places.


According to new research data, antisemitic content is widely available on Instagram, mainly in the form of hashtags, and it is easily discovered by users not looking for such content. Numerous antisemitic and anti-Jewish posts were viewed tens of thousands of times during the seven-week analysis period.

Moreover, hateful hashtags often appear under unrelated posts alongside other discriminative and conspiratorial hashtags.

The report urged Instagram to „identify when anti-Israel or anti-Zionist language is associated with anti-Semitism or used as a way of expressing anti-Semitic sentiment.”

According to an Instagram representative, most of the reported hateful hashtags were subsequently blocked; thereby, no search results will appear under them.

Alongside others, the APL repeatedly stressed that social media is an ideal hotbed for sharing antisemitic content related to the pandemic or even the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Although the regulations of these platforms usually prohibit the uploading of hate speech content, operators are often sloppy regarding compliance.

The owner of the biggest platform, Facebook, promised many times that he would take the Jewish community’s complaints seriously and ban content that denies the Holocaust. Yet, the decisive step was only taken in July 2021. The company chose to direct people searching for content related to the denial of the Holocaust in either of the specified 12 languages to the ‘Facts about the Holocaust’ educational website launched by the World Jewish Congress (WJC) and the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation), where they can get answers to their questions. Nevertheless, the problem is still grave, for Holocaust denial is not the only problem here. According to a BBC article on a professional report issued by the Centre for Countering Digital Hatred (CCDH), major social media platforms fail to take down more than 80% of antisemitic posts.

The Centre for Countering Digital Hatred (CCDH) reported over 700 anti-Jewish hateful posts, viewed 7.3 million times. The research covered Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and Youtube. According to the CCDH, Facebook performed worst, not acting on 89% of the posts.