After Twitter refused to respond to complaints regarding over 300 anti-Semitic tweets, a Berlin-based Israeli artist launched an unusual protest.
An unfortunate byproduct of the social media age is the broader platform that technology has afforded hate speech. While companies such as Facebook and Twitter have official policies banning racism, anti-Semitism, and other forms of hate speech, their actual responses to the widespread dissemination of such views on their platforms have left much to be desired.
After viewing one too many anti-Semitic posts, Berlin-based Israeli artist Shahak Shapira began reporting them to Facebook and Twitter, resulting in an abysmal complaint response rate and an even worse record of taking action. According to Shapira, Twitter acknowledged a mere nine posts out of the over 300 reported, albeit removing none from its application.
Based on Twitter’s record, Shapira took matters into his own hands and traveled to Twitter’s offices in Hamburg, Germany. Using 30 stencils bearing the offensive tweets’ messages, Shapira spray-painted the hate speech outside the building and on the sidewalk for Twitter management to see.
“If Twitter forces me to see those things, then they’ll have to see them too,” explained Shapira in a report broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Among the posts that Shapira stenciled in front of the Twitter offices were, “Let’s gas some Jews together” and “Judenschwein,” which means “Jewish pigs” in German.
Shapira is no stranger to controversial art focused on exposing hate and anti-Semitism. Earlier this year, he superimposed recent “selfies” that various people had taken at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin over actual images from German death camps. The project, titled “Yolocaust,” resulted in jarring images of smiling tourists posing next to victims of the Nazis’ attempted genocide.
To date, Twitter has not responded to Shapira’s protest in Hamburg.
By: United with Israel Staff
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