Social media platforms are pushing back against claims that they promote pro-Palestinian content, instead revealing that there are simply more users posting in support of Palestine than Israel.
Earlier this month, a handful of Jewish celebrities and influencers issued an open letter to TikTok, asking the company to combat "rising anti-Semitism" on the platform. While the group cited harrowing instances of personal threats and harassment, their call did not distinguish between legitimate criticisms of the Israeli government and legitimate cases of targeted bias against Jewish people.
The group cited the rise in pro-Palestine posts as being akin to "how the Holocaust started." While 1,200 Israelis were killed in Hamas attacks on Oct. 7, over 11,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel's escalating retaliation, nearly half of whom were children. The United Nations recently warned of a "genocide" being committed against the Palestinians.
In a newsroom post, TikTok responded to the group's accusations of promoting anti-Israel content and allowing anti-Semitism. They cited a Fighting Online Antisemitism report from 2022 that found the platform removed 100 percent of anti-Semitic of Holocaust denial content.
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Furthermore, the company noted that the "#FreePalestine" trending tag is simply used more globally than ones in support of Israel, such as "#IstandwithIsrael". Not only was the Palestinian slogan in use long before the events of Oct. 7, but it is much more popular in countries other than the United States. Pro-Israel content is still viewed more frequently than pro-Palestinian content in the U.S.
Pro-Palestine content is also more popular among younger generations, which make up TikTok's primary user-base. The company cited Gallup polling data of millennials dating as far back as 2010, which they note was gathered "long before TikTok even existed." They also included data from Facebook and Instagram parent company, Meta, revealing the same trends.
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