A number of Jewish celebrities have criticised TikTok following a surge of anti-Semitic content on the social media platform.
According to The New York Times, over 30 influential people – including Sacha Baron Cohen, Debra Messing and Amy Schumer – had a 90-minute video call with TikTok executives on Wednesday (November 15).
The call was held in response to an open letter, signed by numerous Jewish celebrities, which criticised the company for allowing “rampant misinformation” and “harassment” against Jews to spread on the platform in the wake of the October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas.
One clip, which has since been deleted by TikTok, saw a teen reading Osama Bin Laden’s “Letter to America” from 2002, where he sought to justify the killing of Americans in the 9/11 terror attack and expressed his hatred of Jewish people. The clip started to find some support on the platform after it went viral.
“What is happening at TikTok is it is creating the biggest anti-Semitic movement since the Nazis,” Cohen said during the call with TikTok executives, according to The New York Times. He later said “shame on you” to the platform’s head of operations, Adam Presser, before claiming TikTok could “flip a switch” to fix the issue.
In response, Presser, who is also Jewish, admitted there was some “truth” to Cohen’s remarks, referring to his calls for social media companies to take more action. He denied, however, that there was a “magic button” which could address the issue.
Cohen later accused TikTok of allowing incendiary content to flourish, comparing it to the rise of Hamas, adding: “If you think back to October 7, the reason why Hamas were able to behead young people and rape women was they were fed images from when they were small kids that led them to hate.”
In a statement in response, TikTok said: “We recognise this is an incredibly difficult and fearful time for millions of people around the world and in our TikTok community.
“Our leadership has been meeting with creators, civil society, human rights experts and stakeholders to listen to their experiences and feedback on how TikTok can remain a place for community, discovery and sharing authentically.”
Anti-Semitic content has increased by more than 919 per cent on X and 28 per cent on Facebook since the October 7 attack, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
According to the AA the death toll in Gaza has reached 13,000 since October 7, including over 5,500 children and 3,500 women.