fine digitalhateSPRINGFIELD –State Senators Laura Fine and Ram Villivalam were joined by their colleagues and representatives from the Simon Wiesenthal Center at a press conference to denounce the rise of hate speech on social media in the past year, and to call on social media companies to actively address and take down posts inciting hate and violence.

“This hateful rhetoric can lead to irrational hatred and discrimination toward groups of people and incite violence against those targeted,” Senator Fine said. “I implore mainstream social media platforms to consider the safety of marginalized people in our communities when they allow hate speech to go unchecked.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is a human rights organization committed to fighting anti-Semitism and hate around the world. Each year, the group publishes a digital terrorism and hate report to evaluate social media platforms’ policies on online hate speech. While some platforms introduced efforts to curb misinformation and hate speech, the report found that posts including hate speech were on the rise on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Google, giving the Center and the Senators cause for concern.

“We cannot ignore the rise of online hate that is making our communities more divisive,” Senator Villivalam said. “Keeping our friends and neighbors safe from hate-motivated harm and speech is a top priority, and I stand with my colleagues to call for an end of this unprecedented level of discrimination.”

The report comes after anti-Semitic flyers were anonymously distributed to homes in Glenview, Park Ridge, and Niles. The flyers included images of prominent Jewish politicians—including Senator Fine—and businesspeople from Illinois and across the country. Members of the Illinois General Assembly are working to address the rise in antisemitism across all platforms to stop the spread of hate and stand up for people who are being targeted.

“There’s no denying that the tsunami of hate continues in our country and that anti-Semites, racists and other violent extremists are leveraging social media platforms to target their victims and recruit young people to their causes. That is why the 2022 release of our Digital Terrorism & Hate Report Card is so important,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean and director of global Social Action at the Simon Wiesenthal Center. “The operative word in the battle against hate in all its forms in our society is accountability. Accountability in our classroom, corporate boardrooms, in our media and in our political discourse. We are grateful for the leadership shown by the elected officials of Illinois, some of whom, themselves have been targets of anti-Semitic campaigns.”

To read the Center’s full report on digital hate speech, visit digitalhate.net.

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Springfield Office:
121C Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-2119

District Office:
1812 Waukegan Road
Suite A
Glenview, IL 60025
(847) 998-1717

laura@senatorfine.com