House Democrat presses Musk on rise of antisemitism on Twitter

Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Fla., holds up tweets during a House Committee on Oversight and Accountability hearing on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-Fla.) penned a letter to Twitter CEO Elon Musk on Thursday asking how he plans to combat the rise of antisemitism on the social media platform after the congressman was the target of a barrage of antisemitic comments this week.

Moskowitz, who is Jewish, said his official Twitter account received “hundreds of hateful, divisive comments” after he posted a video clip of himself pointing out the spread of antisemitism on the platform during a congressional hearing the day before.

“After the Committee hearing, I posted on my official government Twitter account a video of myself pointing out the rise of antisemitism found on Twitter. Once the video was posted, the reply section of my post was flooded with hateful, antisemitic comments and images,” Moskowitz wrote. “At the time that I am writing this letter, I have received over 200 such comments on one tweet.”

“With this direct and heightened environment in mind, how will you work with other stakeholders to combat the rise of antisemitism on Twitter?” he added.

The House Oversight and Accountability Committee held a hearing on Wednesday focused on Twitter’s decision to limit the spread of a New York Post story about Hunter Biden, President Biden’s son, in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election. Former Twitter employees testified at the hearing.

During the event, Moskowitz pointed out the rise of antisemitic comments on the social media platform since Musk took control of the company, and took a jab at GOP lawmakers who have said “God Bless Elon Musk.”

“See these?” he said, holding up photos of antisemitic content on Twitter. “God Bless the guy who is allowing Nazis and antisemitism to perpetrate Twitter.”

One photo was of white supremacist Nick Fuentes, which Moskowitz said he has received as a response to his tweets. He noted that Fuentes had dinner with former President Trump last year.

In his letter Thursday, Moskowitz cited a statistic from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) that said there had been a 61.3 percent increase in the volume to tweets referencing “Jews” or “Judaism” with an antisemitic comment in the two weeks after Musk took over Twitter. After securing control of the platform, Musk rolled back some content moderation policies and restored a number of users that had previously been banned.

Moskowitz noted, however, that the ADL statistics were from before Musk dissolved the Trust and Safety Council.

The congressman went on to describe another incident when he received antisemitic comments on the platform.

“These incidents prove the point that I made at yesterday’s hearing, that Twitter has allowed hateful rhetoric to run rampant without consideration of the real and dangerous consequences to you users and the Jewish community,” he wrote.

Tags antisemitism Elon Musk Elon Musk Jared Moskowitz Jared Moskowitz Social media Twitter Twitter

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