On the occasion of Holocaust Remembrance Day, UNESCO and the World Jewish Congress (WJC) launched a new partnership with the online platform TikTok to tackle Holocaust distortion and denial. Users searching for terms relating to the Holocaust will be redirected to verified information.
The circulation of false information about the Holocaust is a growing problem online, and not all platforms are taking effective action to curb this harmful trend. The Centre for Countering Digital Hate said in August last year, 84% of antisemitic content reported to social media companies was allowed to remain on their platforms.
According to UN and UNESCO data, 17% of content related to the Holocaust on TikTok either denied or distorted the Holocaust. Faced with this problem, the platform has decided to act, by drawing on the expertise of UNESCO and the WJC.
From today, TikTok users searching for terms related to the Holocaust, such as ‘Holocaust victims’ or ‘Holocaust survivor’, will see a banner at the top of their search results which invites them to visit the WJC and UNESCO website: www.aboutholocaust.org. Users searching for terms related to the Holocaust which violate TikTok´s Community Guidelines, will be informed their search results are banned, and will be shown the same banner inviting them to visit the WJC and UNESCO online education website.
Jointly hosted by the WJC and UNESCO, the website AboutHolocaust.org sets out in 19 different languages the facts of the Holocaust, educating readers on the historical roots of the genocide, its processes and consequences.
Denying, distorting or trivializing the true facts of the Holocaust is a pernicious form of contemporary antisemitism. We welcome TikTok’s commitment to act with UNESCO and the WJC. All online platforms must take responsibility for the spread of hate speech by promoting reliable sources of information.
Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General
The World Jewish Congress is proud to partner with UNESCO and TikTok in making factual and reliable information about the Holocaust available to 1 billion monthly users. TikTok is known for its ability to reach a younger audience, many of them uninformed about the horrors of the Holocaust and particularly susceptible to misinformation. We welcome the platform taking responsibility and leveraging its reach to stop the spread of antisemitism and Holocaust denial.
Ronald S. Lauder, World Jewish Congress President
We believe education plays a critical role in striking out hate, which is why we’re proud to partner with the World Jewish Congress and UNESCO to help people learn about the Holocaust and understand their role in fighting modern-day antisemitism. Hateful behaviour is incompatible with TikTok’s inclusive environment, and we’ll continue to put our full strength behind keeping our platform a place that is free of hate, while harnessing the power of TikTok to educate our community.
Liz Kanter, Director, Government Relations, UK, Ireland & Israel – TikTok
Disinformation about the Holocaust and antisemitic conspiracy theories have spiked dramatically on social media platforms since the outbreak of COVID-19. Widespread and growing ignorance of the history of the Holocaust fuels the problem. A 2020 study reported that 41% of American young adults believe that two million or fewer, rather than 6 million Jews were killed. In France, 69% among Millennial and Gen Z respondents did not know the correct figure, and in Austria 58% respondents in the same age bracket did not know it.
One year ago, UNESCO and the WJC signed a similar partnership with Facebook. Since then, AboutHolocaust.org has been accessed nearly 400,000 times from more than 100 countries.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is the UN agency specifically mandated to promote Holocaust and genocide education. It addresses Holocaust denial and distortion and all forms of antisemitism. The Organization studies and documents the Holocaust, supports states in developing their education programs, trains educators and produces educational tools for students across the world. Five UNESCO chairs in the world are specifically dedicated to this field.