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CBS: New report says social media apps not doing enough to address online hate

By Asal Rezaei

CHICAGO (CBS) -- With antisemitism on the rise, Cook County leaders are coming together to show a united front to combat hate.

It comes as a new report shows large social media companies, like TikTok and Twitter, failed to curb online hate. 

The organization Cook County United Against Hate is now trying to come up with solutions, after a new report called out social media companies with billions of users combined.

Many of those users are young impressionable teens, who experts say are being targeted by hate groups.

"The people who are doing the online hate, the white supremacist stuff, they're also the ones painting the swastikas on synagogues. They're the ones committing violence against African Americans, Asian Americans, LGBTQ," Cook County Commissioner Scott Britton said.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, from the Simon Wiesenthal Center – the leading international Jewish human rights group – said social media has become a key player.

"The problem is that you have a subculture of hate embedded and growing on social media that denigrates Blacks, Jews, you name the group," he said.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center's 2023 Digital Terrorism and Hate Report, to be released on Monday, shows a nationwide surge of propaganda-driven recruitment and hate crimes.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is issuing a report card, grading large media companies on how they monetize hateful content; with Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter all on the low end.

Telegram got the lowest grade. The report found the app has thousands of posts encouraging attacks on Jews and other marginalized groups.

Britton said Cook County United Against Hate is stepping up educational outreach in schools, and within law enforcement, working closely with Chicago police on training.

"By doing this type of outreach, we train our law enforcement, and we train our communities to call this out, and also to identify the places where we can prosecute," Britton said.

While it's a step in the right direction, Cooper said there's still a long way to go.

"It does give us, finally, a sense of hope," he said. "When it comes to hate, and the delivery systems on social media, our enemies, they don't care what our differences are."

County leaders say they're also looking closely at the budget to make sure they can coordinate the response they feel this report is calling for.

CBS 2 reached out to the media companies listed in the report for comment. Amazon said they have no response, while a TikTok spokesperson said they're looking into the report and will get back to us.

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