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Mon Jan 13, 2020, 08:00 AM

Anti-Semitic Trolls Impersonate Rabbis, Stoking Hate after Hasidic Attacks


What to Know
Social media posts from fake accounts have been spreading hateful, bigoted messages since attacks on Hasidic Jews
The fake accounts, which claim to be of U.S. rabbis, post messages seemingly geared at pitting Jews against African Americans
While the accounts were fairly easily exposed as phony, a question remains: Why don’t Twitter or Facebook block the content sooner?

Days after Grafton Thomas, a black man, was arrested for the Hanukkah slashing at Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg’s home in Monsey, a Twitter account calling itself “David Rothstein” wrote, “monsey stabbing was perpetrated by a black supremacist.” He followed that up with a picture of a black man missing multiple teeth and the N-word.

The racist David Rothstein account wasn’t the only one capitalizing on a tragedy to spread hate.

In December, following a fatal mass shooting at a Jersey City kosher supermarket, another troll account called Rabbi Hezekiah of ATL was born. After the crime, Rabbi Hezekiah tweeted, “Jewish landlords should not rent to colored people,” and “The problem Jews all over the world are facing is: the Black Man.”

The vile, racist tweets are just a few of the toxic social media posts that went unchecked in the days and weeks following a series of anti-Semitic attacks in the New York City region.

It wasn’t difficult to decipher the troll accounts were imposters. The profile picture for David Rothstein was actually a photo of Rabbi David Lau, one of Israel’s chief rabbis. A link under the profile picture of Rabbi Hezekiah takes readers to the homepage of Congregation Beth Shalom, a suburban Atlanta temple whose real leader is Rabbi Mark Zimmerman, a man who preaches tolerance.

There it is. More trolls trying to divide us by using tragedies to spread hate. Dumping gasoline on existing prejudice and bigotry.

The article mentions artificial intelligence to identify hateful social media posts. Which needs improvement. The humans in developing countries that Facebook has contracted to review reported posts, generally have very different cultural views on what is determined hateful, and easily get desensitized from looking at it all day every day. So they let everything through.

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Reply Anti-Semitic Trolls Impersonate Rabbis, Stoking Hate after Hasidic Attacks (Original post)
IronLionZion Jan 13 OP
Behind the Aegis Jan 14 #1
IronLionZion Jan 14 #2

Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Tue Jan 14, 2020, 12:40 AM

1. It is working the other way too.

There are reports of bots/trolls "playing" African-Americans claiming racism from Jews. One was a "woman" who said her Jewish boss made a reference about the Holocaust being worse than slavery. There is a definite "theme" in many of these bot attacks.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 14, 2020, 07:58 AM

2. We shouldn't be divided by bots and trolls

Being aware that they are doing this is very important, but we must not allow ourselves to be manipulated by it. It's designed to evoke an emotional response and outrage people.

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