ABC under fire for Facebook hate
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ABC under fire for Facebook hate

THE Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) has asked the ABC for an explanation after anti-Semitic posts remained on its Facebook page for more than a month.

Executive Council of Australian Jewry executive director Peter Wertheim.
Executive Council of Australian Jewry executive director Peter Wertheim.

THE Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) has asked the ABC for an explanation after anti-Semitic posts remained on its Facebook page for more than a month.

Following the screening of the ABC Four Corners program “Stone Cold Justice” – about the Israeli Defence Forces’ treatment of Palestinian children in the West Bank – last month, a slew of offensive comments was posted on the program’s Facebook page.

Those comments were eventually removed following an ECAJ complaint, but another post relating to the program on ABC TV’s Facebook page also attracted anti-Semitic comments, some of which remained online from February 11 until last week, when the ECAJ again wrote to the broadcaster.

Comments included “I am not in the least surprised why Palastinians (sic) want to blow up buses by the Jewful … Think I sound anti semetic? (sic) Give me a good reason why I shouldn’t after watching Four Corners” and “Thugs, criminals, persecutors, oppressors, murderers, and terrorists sum up the jews (sic) for me”.

ECAJ executive director Peter Wertheim said the Jewish roof body “expects better from our national broadcaster”.

“Whilst some racist content was removed from the ABC’s Four Corners Facebook page within 24 hours, there were 36 posted comments which were not removed for periods of between two days and two weeks or more,” he said.

“Some comments were removed only after being exposed by the ECAJ in other media.

“We have written to the ABC Board calling for a review of its procedures for keeping racist content out of the ABC’s social media.”

An ABC spokesperson told The AJN that the comments had remained on its Facebook page “until the moderators were made aware of them.”

“Once Four Corners received notice of the comments, in a March 20 letter from the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, it immediately contacted ABC TV’s moderators – who quickly acted to hide or delete them.

“The nature of the platform means comments from the public cannot be pre-moderated, and can be uploaded at any point during the day or night – and any time after the initial post,” the spokesperson said.

“Therefore the agreed protocol requires a reasonable moderation of comments for a period of time around a program’s broadcast, but accepts it is not possible for the moderators to guarantee the page is free from offensive posts.”

GARETH NARUNSKY

Executive director Peter Wertheim says the ECAJ “expects better from our national broadcaster”.

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