As technology and especially today’s politics evolve, new social media forums are created, coming in and out of style. Some become popular, some become niche. Take Action always recommends trying new places, technologies and ideas, even if they carry a risk of your being confronted with haters focusing on anti-Semitism, racism, ageism and/or sexism. Here are some tips to virtually try out new places safely and with your eyes open.
Check the privacy rules. Every social media tool should provide you with a balance between privacy and trackability. Check the rules before signing up. Some impacts might be additional SPAM in your inbox (if they sell your email address to a vendor) or not being able to know anything about a person messaging you. Keep in mind that these rules may change over time as the laws, technology and the owners’ needs change.
To Filter or Not to Filter? Each platform has a different algorithm for showing you content. You may be exposed to more or less of the messages you are used to getting on older social media platforms, including anti-Semitic messages. Look for manual filters that may provide you with a pro-active choice. Be ready for anything when exploring new digital territory.
Know your Memes/Stereotypes. All social media provides new ways for subtle or not so subtle hateful stereotypes or memes to be spread around. You may be exposed to “secret messages” that identify if the person is part of a militia, group or exposing them (unwillingly) as gay or Jewish. What will you do when you see these? Take Action will address this with another article, but to prepare yourself, education is the best tool. We suggest taking a look at the ADL database “Hate on Display” as a good guide. This database is, unfortunately, growing all the time. Consider bookmarking it and reviewing once a year for new entries.
A Narrower Perspective. Different social media sites target specific age, socio-economic, religious or political groups. You may welcome or resent this approach. We recommend treating social media the way you treat traditional media – create a little rotation of a few different ones to get a variety of perspectives. The rotation is sure to change once in a while, but it will help you stay abreast of the bigger picture.
Check for a Reporting Function
Check to see if your new platform has a way to report hateful posts or content. You may never need to use it, but being on a platform that does not have a reporting function tells you a lot about the style of the platform and what is intended from the participants.
Is Online Anti-Semitism Inevitable?
We look for ways to build bridges, not burn them. Online anti-Semitism can be a powerful tool for shaping opinions, altering perceptions, and inflicting pain. Nevertheless, you may never experience any form of hate on any social media or you may see a meme or comment and not realize what you are seeing.
If you come across hate, don’t ignore it. Assess the situation and report it or choose to confront it with a cool head.
Don’t let fear of haters keep you from trying out new social media platforms. Now that you know how to take action, it’s time to jump in!