Board of Deputies influences Twitter policy crackdown on Holocaust Denial

For some years, the Board of Deputies has urged social media companies, including Twitter, to crack down harder on Holocaust denial.

Last week, the Board of Deputies was among key partners on the Twitter Trust & Safety Council notified  that the Twitter Help Center had been updated with respect to Hateful Conduct and Abusive Behaviour policies, to make them more expansive and far-reaching in respect of Holocaust denial and the denial of other violent events.

Twitter has said it hopes these updates will result in “a more aggressive approach” to the enforcement of existing policies as they relate to the denial of violent events, including Holocaust Denial and abusive references to the Holocaust – and has credited the work of the Board of Deputies for helping to bring about the change.

As part of the changes, instituted this week, Twitter said that this approach would apply to “the denial of violent events and abusive references to violent events where protected categories are the primary victims”, listing the Holocaust as the first example. In a meeting this week between representatives of Twitter’s public policy team and representatives of UK Jewish organisations, Twitter specifically commended the Board of Deputies’ work in helping to bring about the policy shift.

The Board of Deputies recently became a permanent member of Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council. The Twitter Trust and Safety Council is a group of independent expert organisations from around the world who advocate for safety and advise Twitter on the development of products, programes, and rules. Having previously served on the Dehumanisation working group, the Board of Deputies now sit on the Online Safety and Harassment working group.

Amanda Bowman, Vice President of the Board of Deputies and Chair of the organisation’s Defence Division, expressed satisfaction that the Board’s work was being recognised, but made it clear that social media platforms still had much more work to do.

“While it is undoubtedly gratifying to hear that the Board’s work is leading to changes which will hopefully better protect Jewish Twitter users, we will wait to see the long-term results before celebrating”, she said.

“In particular, the last few weeks have seen a ramping up of antisemitic rhetoric on the platform, with multiple references to Hitler in connection to the situation in Israel, with users either praising the infamous mass-murderer’s actions or calling for a return to his policies.”

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