Twitter and Instagram criticised for slow response to anti-Semitism by Wiley

The grime star posted a series of offensive statements, with one comparing Jewish people to the Ku Klux Klan

British Police are investigating after a stream of anti-Semitic comments were posted on Wiley’s Instagram and Twitter accounts. AP
British Police are investigating after a stream of anti-Semitic comments were posted on Wiley’s Instagram and Twitter accounts. AP

Twitter and Instagram are under fire from the UK government and social media users after failing to censor anti-Semitic comments by the singer Wiley quickly enough.

The British Home Secretary, Priti Patel, said she had demanded a response from the social media companies. Police are also investigating the matter.

Taking to the very platform that she was criticising, Ms Patel Tweeted that the anti-Semitic posts from Wiley were “abhorrent”.

“They should not have been able to remain on Twitter and Instagram for so long and I have asked them for a full explanation,” she said. “Social media companies must act much faster to remove such appalling hatred from their platforms.”

The Twitter and Instragram accounts of Wiley, a rap artist who received an MBE in 2018, have more than 940,000 followers combined. The 41-year-old, also known as the “godfather of grime” but whose real name is Richard Cowie, published the series of highly offensive online messages last week, including one that compared Jewish people to the Ku Klux Klan. He was dropped by his management at the weekend.

Some social media users, including celebrities, have commenced a 48-hour boycott of Twitter because of what they view as its inaction under the hashtag #NoSafeSpaceForJewHate. They include MPs from all the major political parties, television presenters, comedians, actors and Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis.

Karen Pollock, the chief executive of the UK's Holocaust Educational Trust, has also voiced support for the backlash.

“It is about time social media companies Twitter [and] Instagram live up to the values their users would expect,” she wrote, also on Twitter. Ms Pollock said the platform could be "abusive, distressing and so draining".

A company spokesperson for Facebook, which owns Instagram, said: “There is no place for hate speech on Instagram. We have deleted content that violates our policies from this account and have blocked access to it for seven days.”

Published: July 27, 2020 07:11 PM

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