Online Policy Group
|Online policy research, outreach, and action on issues such as access, privacy, and digital defamation.|
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Web Companies Combat Anti-Semitism
NEW YORK (AP) August 9, 2000 -- America Online and other Internet sites said they moved swiftly this week to combat some anti-Semitic postings related to Al Gore's selection of a Jewish running mate.
Though the remarks about Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut were mostly limited to Web sites and discussion groups frequented by hate groups, some did spill into chat rooms and message boards from mainstream Internet providers.
AOL, which recorded more than 28,000 postings on Lieberman, said Wednesday it deleted an unspecified number for violating its policies against hate speech. CNN suspended about 10 users from its chat rooms.
Lieberman was tapped Monday to become the first Jewish candidate on a major-party ticket.
Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, lauded the response from Internet sites.
"They are doing it on their own, not just waiting for us to bring it to their attention," Foxman said.
AOL spokesman Nicholas Graham said the postings were being investigated, and offenders could have their accounts canceled or suspended. "We'll look at it on a case-by-case basis, but we do have zero tolerance on hate speech," he said.
CNN has software filters to automatically block profanity and hate words from chat rooms, and humans look for messages that slip through.
Moderators at MSNBC and ABC News sites were warned beforehand about the potential for slurs and other forms of hate speech. Some postings at ABC were removed. Some hate speech appeared on Yahoo! discussion groups, although the service refused comment on specifics.
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