More than 50,000 incidents of antisemitic content posted online by internet users in France were monitored in 2019 by a new organization that was set up to track hatred and racism on social networks.
A report published on Friday by the Online Antisemitism Observatory — a research initiative launched by the French Jewish representative body CRIF — disclosed a total of 51,816 antisemitic postings during the period studied. Observation was limited to public postings visible to all, including anti-Jewish comments that were nevertheless cleared for publication by monitors.
In an interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro, Francis Kalifat — president of CRIF — said that online monitoring was a vital task in a country dogged by rising antisemitism.
French Interior Ministry figures published in January showed that antisemitic acts increased by 27 percent in 2019, following a leap of 74 percent the previous year.
“In order to have a more complete picture of antisemitism in France, it was necessary to identify, quantify and qualify the hateful content present on the internet,” Kalifat told the paper.
While the initial focus of the observatory was on antisemitism, Kalifat explained, “we intend to gradually extend this Observatory to other hatreds that are rampant on social networks and that plague society: homophobia, racism, anti-Muslim or anti-Christian statements.”
The CRIF study broke down online antisemitism into four distinct but overlapping categories. 52 percent of the offending content invoked “stereotypes and conspiracy theories,” 13 percent trafficked in Holocaust denial and apologia for the Nazis, 38 percent involved explicit expressions of anti-Jewish hated and 39 percent involved expressions of hatred toward the State of Israel.