(J-Practical, October 21, 2012)
On October 19th, CBC.ca posted a story about how Twitter responded to a tsunami of racist and antisemitic tweets (“Twitter removes French-language anti-Semitic tweets” – www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2012/10/19/twitter-racist-tweets-france.html).
This very same CBC.ca report inadvertently provides a fascinating study in how ineffective and unresponsive our own national broadcaster can be, when faced with antisemitism posted to their own website.
Unlike Twitter, the CBC website’s user-generated content is not supposed to be a free-for-all.
It’s still our national broadcaster, purportedly governed by Content Submission Guidelines, which prohibit people from posting “Hate Speech” (section 9.c), and monitored by a team of moderators that carry out that policy. As a further measure, each posted comment has a little button called “Report Abuse”, that lets readers alert the moderators if they think an inappropriate comment snuck in unnoticed.
But, like rust, antisemitism doesn’t sleep. Sadly, CBC’s website moderation apparently does, because while the CBC was reporting the antisemitism on Twitter, they were actively ignoring antisemitism on their own website.
The CBC.ca comments section for the Twitter antisemitism story drew the ‘A’ Team like flies to honey. But the CBC moderation team may as well have been absent. Here are some examples of the comments they let through:
Taxpayingidiot (2012/10/19 at 8:46 PM ET) tells us that “Twitter caved in to the most powerful group on the globe” – implying, of course, those crafty, controlling Joos. The same person then follows up with another comment, about how they wield so much power on the “world’s financial markets and the foreign policies of many western countries”
JoanneMengele (2012/10/20 at 2:53 AM ET) compares the victims of antisemitism to the Rolling Stones title “Sympathy for The Devil”, Jew = devil. Who knew? Well, perhaps somebody who chose to post under a name evocative of the infamous Auschwitz doctor.
Howardhicks (2012/10/19 at 3:26 PM ET) wants to know why we shouldn’t consult with the Jews (AIPAC) about all internet communication
Let Us Prey (2012/10/19 at 1:29 PM ET) is offended that the Jews complain about antisemitism, and suggests “they set up a system where we just don’t mention them at all”
nyumbu (2012/10/20 at 11:53 AM ET) seems to think that racism is something that the Jews shouldn’t complain about.
noonespecial (2012/10/20 at 1:33 PM ET) responds to nyumbu’s comment, and tells us that antisemitism “has nothing to do with reality”, and Jews should just accept it “take insult with a grain of salt”, and further suggests that antisemitism is just a product of the Jews’ problems with “self esteem”. He closes his comments with the profundity of “Sticks and stone can break my bones but names will never hurt me” – thereby demonstrating how people who are dirt-ignorant of history are unlikely to learn from history’s most horrible lessons.
Proactive (2012/10/20 at 11:32 AM ET) thinks we live in an “era of selective censorship and protectionism” that Jews buy with their money, and later posts (2012/10/21 at 12:37 PM ET) that he doesn’t “condoln (sic) the actions of any extremest (sic) faction” and questions whether “the playing field is equal”. I don’t know which playing field he means (and probably, neither does he), but I’d sure like him to provide another example of 2,000 year-old violent persecution to ‘level the playing field’.
Not only did the CBC moderators miss these comments on the way in, but they also ignored alerts from CBC.ca readers who hit the ‘Report Abuse’ button on these comments.
I myself hit that button 14 times this weekend, and explained each time why each of the comments above were antisemitic and violated CBC Policy. I doubt if I’m the only one who hit that button.
Nothing happened. Isn’t that strange?
So I emailed the CBC Moderation Team to alert them and request they take action concerning the antisemitic trash posted on CBC.ca
Again, nothing happened. Isn’t that strange? What could the problem be? Is it that:
- The moderators are too busy to notice.
- The technology is failing the CBC, and the moderators don’t realize the comments are there, or that readers have submitted abuse reports pointing out the comments.
- The moderators don’t understand the racist comments, and are letting them through, and then ignoring the abuse reports.
- The moderators have chosen to allow this content, because they somehow believe it’s compliant with CBC policy to trash Jews on CBC.ca .
I’m patiently waiting for the CBC to do something (well, OK… not so patiently). Some of these comments have been online for 3 days, despite the mechanisms the CBC put in place to prevent such situations. The successive failure of all these mechanisms makes the CBC look like it has the same low-low standards as Twitter.
It’s also not the first time this has happened. Is this the quality that we expect of our national broadcaster. Is it too much to ask that the CBC keep antisemitism off its website?