TikTok came under attack recently from Jewish celebrities and TikTok creators who said the platform had become a pit of reeking anti-Semitism.
“What is happening at TikTok is it is creating the biggest anti-Semitic movement since the Nazis,” actor Sacha Baron Cohen said during the call, according to The New York Times.
“Shame on you,” the “Borat” star said, adding that TikTok could “flip a switch” to quell the rampant anti-Semitism on the social media site.
“If you think back to Oct. 7, the reason why Hamas were able to behead young people and rape women was they were fed images from when they were small kids that led them to hate,” the comedian said, saying TikTok was a prime purveyor of such content.
The video call also included Debra Messing and Amy Schumer, as well as Adam Presser, TikTok’s head of operations, and Seth Melnick, who is in charge of user operations. Presser and Melnick are both based in the U.S. and both are Jewish.
— New York Post (@nypost) November 17, 2023
“Obviously a lot of what Sacha says, there’s truth to that,” Presser said, citing Cohen’s call for action on all social media fronts, but said there was no “magic button” to fix the problem.
Messing tried to win a commitment to clamp down on the pro-Palestinian slogan “from the river to the sea,” which has become a shorthand for the elimination of Israel.
Presser said TikTok’s 40,000 moderators believe the words are open to interpretation.
“Where it is clear exactly what they mean — ‘kill the Jews, eradicate the state of Israel’ — that content is violative and we take it down,” he said.
“Our approach up until Oct. 7, continuing to today, has been that for instances where people use the phrase where it’s not clear, where someone is just using it casually, then that has been considered acceptable speech.”
Messing was not appeased.
“It is much more responsible to bar it at this juncture than to say, ‘Oh, well, some people, they use it in a different way than it actually was created to mean.’ I understand that you are in a very, very difficult and complicated place, but you also are the main platform for the dissemination of Jew hate,” she said.
Wednesday’s meeting followed an open letter to TikTok from a number of Jewish content creators, including Messing and Schumer.
“Your platform is not safe for Jewish users,” the letter said.
Jewish content creators on TikTok “are being bombarded with abhorrent inhumanity solely due to our ethno-religious identity. This hate and vitriol is not rare, spontaneous or unexpected. Sadly, rampant antisemitism is a common problem that TikTok has failed to address for far too long.”
The letter said that cyberhate creeps into the real world.
“Anger fueled by TikTok has led directly to antisemitic harassment, assault and vandalism. We are scared to leave our homes. We feel compelled to hire armed security. We are frightened to post for fear of receiving more suffocating digital hate. We fear that only an unfathomable tragedy befalling a Jewish TikTok creator will lead to change. Is that what you are waiting for?”
The flood of hate on TikTok has been noticed by others. Hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, who is the CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management, has said TikTok should “probably be banned” for “massively manipulating public opinion” in favor of Hamas and “amplifying the hate” against Israel.
Former President Donald Trump had issued an executive order that banned “any transaction by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, with ByteDance Ltd.,” according to CNN. ByteDance is the Chinese-based owner of TikTok.
President Joe Biden did away with that order.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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