Toronto (September 19, 2022) - Twitter has finally suspended Laith Marouf's "other" account after Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) President and CEO Michael Levitt questioned one of its executives over the social media company's mishandling of the case, allowing Marouf to open multiple accounts despite his many previous antisemitic and other hateful tweets.
On Friday, Levitt joined fellow members of the Inter-Parliamentary Task Force to Combat Online Antisemitism – including current and former parliamentarians from Canada, the United States, New Zealand, South Africa, Israel and the EU – in Washington, DC for the Task Force's first in-person hearing to question social media companies Meta, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok on their largely ineffective efforts to combat online antisemitism. Special envoys against antisemitism from the U.S., Canada and Israel – including Deborah Lipstadt, Irwin Cotler and Noa Tishby – as well as the Organization of American States were also in attendance to discuss the rising tide of Jew-hatred. FSWC was pleased to also see senior leadership from B'nai Brith Canada and CIJA in attendance.
The hearing tackled issues such as algorithm transparency, response times when hate speech is reported and the refusal to tackle antisemitism in the form of anti-Zionism.
During the hearing, Levitt questioned Twitter over how it poorly handled the Laith Marouf case in allowing him to create a new, private account after his previous one was suspended for violating Twitter's rules against "hateful conduct." Soon after the hearing, Twitter finally also suspended Marouf's latest Twitter account.
Click the video below to watch FSWC's Michael Levitt question Twitter on the Laith Marouf issue
The hearing came after the Task Force released its Fall 2020 – Spring 2021 Interim Report last summer, detailing its goals and preliminary recommendations to address rampant antisemitism on social media platforms. The report featured recommendations from numerous technological and social media expert organizations as well as Jewish groups.
In the report, FSWC Director of Policy Jaime Kirzner-Roberts highlighted three areas of priority, including the need for governments to strengthen legal tools to effectively combat hate, develop clear guidelines and expectations for platform providers in both preventing and responding to cases of hate speech and disinformation, and invest in broad-based data collection and research programs on online hate to develop a better understanding of the problem and to further the development of an effective policy response.
In his closing remarks during the hearing, FSWC President and CEO Michael Levitt stated:
“In today's world, the impact of social media platforms is indisputably titanic. But with power and prominence comes responsibility and accountability, which you, the executives of these massive companies, have been derelict in your duty to do right. Inaction is complicity in the tragic consequences of online antisemitism going unchecked. The vile, unregulated racist content on the dark corners of your social media platforms is increasingly spilling onto our streets, into our communities, onto our campuses and schoolyards, with real-life threats to our safety, freedom and ultimately undermining our very way of life. We see this corrosive, poisoning virus of Jew-hatred increasingly infecting Canadian society, with Jews being the most targeted minority. This tsunami of hate and incitement represents a fundamental risk to our future. I failed to hear a real and meaningful commitment from any of you today beyond platitudes and window dressing. I implore you to do more and to do it now. The safety and future of our Jewish community depend on it.”
Click the video below to watch the entire Inter-Parliamentary Task Force to Combat Online Antisemitism hearing