(WNY News Now) – New York Attorney General Letitia James has sent letters to major social media companies, including Google, Meta, X (formerly Twitter), TikTok, Reddit, and Rumble, seeking detailed explanations of their efforts to combat the spread of hateful content and calls for violence against Jewish and Muslim communities online, following recent terrorist attacks in Israel.
New York – In the wake of recent terrorist attacks in Israel, New York Attorney General Letitia James has issued a series of letters to prominent social media companies, requesting detailed explanations regarding their strategies to counter the dissemination of hateful content and threats targeting Jewish and Muslim communities online.
Attorney General James has posed tailored questions to each platform, seeking to understand their actions in addressing the surge of violent rhetoric that has manifested over the past week. Her call for transparency underscores the vital role of social media platforms in ensuring user safety and mitigating the spread of hate-driven calls for violence.
“In the wake of Hamas’ unspeakable atrocities, social media has been widely used by bad actors to spread horrific material, disseminate threats, and encourage violence,” Attorney General James stated. She emphasized the responsibility of these platforms to protect their users and prevent the dissemination of violent rhetoric that endangers vulnerable groups. “I am calling on these companies to explain how they are addressing threats and how they will ensure that no online platform is used to further terrorist activities,” she added.
Reports have indicated a concerning surge in online threats, particularly those of antisemitic and Islamophobic nature, following the recent terrorist attacks in Israel. The Anti-Defamation League has documented an increase in antisemitic threats and the propagation of conspiracy theories on various social media platforms. In her letters to the social media companies, Attorney General James has requested specific details regarding their content moderation policies and terms of service. She underscores the importance of these policies in preventing hate-based threats and minimizing the potential for their platforms to be misused for planning violent acts.
The letters from Attorney General James include requests for the companies to:
- Explain the actions taken in response to recent calls for violence against Jewish and Muslim communities.
- Describe the steps they have taken to address the potential use of their platforms for planning, encouraging, or disseminating acts of violence.
- Provide information on their public-facing terms of service, community rules, and policies prohibiting the dissemination of calls for violence.
- Elaborate on their internal policies for determining and removing content that incites violence.
- Clarify their policies regarding disciplining, suspending, and banning users for posting content removed due to its association with calls for violence.
Attorney General Letitia James has a history of advocating for accountability among social media companies in the fight against dangerous online content. Recently, she advanced legislation aimed at protecting children from addictive social media features that might expose them to harmful content. In July, she led a coalition in defense of the federal government’s ability to communicate with social media companies about the spread of dangerous content. In 2022, a report she released shed light on the role of social media platforms in the Buffalo mass shooting and the promotion of online extremism. In 2021, she joined a coalition investigating Meta for providing and promoting Instagram to children and young adults, despite being aware of associated physical and mental health risks.