Anti-Defamation League taps tech giants to fight hate

The effort includes a Silicon Valley-based "command center" to monitor and crack down on hate online.

Erin Carson Former Senior Writer
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Erin Carson
2 min read

The Anti-Defamation League is teaming up with tech to fight hate online. 

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The Anti-Defamation League is making another move to enlist the tech industry in its efforts to curb hate online.

The civil rights organization said on Monday it's opened the Center for Technology and Society, complete with an advisory board stacked with notable names like Reddit CEO Steve Huffman, Facebook Vice President of Product Guy Rosen, and Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe.

"Fifty years ago, extremists were hiding behind hoods and burning crosses. Today, they're hiding behind avatars and burning up Twitter ," said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt in a statement. "It's a dangerous threat that is normalizing hate, dividing society, and bringing real-world violence and hate crimes to communities across the country."

These efforts come at a time when platforms are struggling to figure out what to do about hate and harassment online -- and as that hate is growing while people with similar worldviews digitally congregate. A 2016 study from George Washington University found that on Twitter alone, white nationalist groups have seen their followers grow by 600 percent since 2012.

The ADL announced the CTS at SXSW in March as something of a Silicon Valley command center created to monitor and analyze hate speech. Philanthropic investment firm Omidyar Network kicked off the project with an initial $250,000 grant, and it's providing an addition $1.5 million now that CTS is operational.

CTS is the latest way the ADL is trying to tackle hate online. In October, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Twitter formed the Cyberhate Problem-Solving Lab with the ADL as a way to create strategies to combat hate and abuse.

Reddit and Facebook declined to comment further.

Board members include not just folks from prominent tech companies, but also people with backgrounds in venture capital, law, journalism, media and academia.

Here's the full list of board members:

  • Steve Huffman, Reddit founder and CEO
  • Guy Rosen, Facebook VP of Product
  • Micah Shaffer, Snapchat head of public policy
  • Whitney Wolfe, CEO of the dating app Bumble
  • Matt Rogers, Nest founder and chief product officer
  • Katie Jacobs Stanton former Twitter executive and Color Genomics' chief marketing officer
  • Aileen Lee, Cowboy Ventures
  • Danielle Citron, a law professor at the University of Maryland and author of "Hate Crimes in Cyberspace"
  • Brad Hamm, dean of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University
  • Shawn Henry, former FBI executive assistant director
  • James Joaquin, co-founder and managing director of Obvious Ventures
  • Jeffrey Rosen, president of the National Constitution Center and professor of law at George Washington University
  • Jeffrey Saper, vice chair of the global tech law firm Wilson Sonsini
  • Anne Washington, public policy professor at George Mason University who focuses on the social dynamics of information

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