Jewish artist takes on Twitter for enabling anti-Semitism
Shahak Shapira stages protest over social media giant’s failure to delete anti-Semitic messages (while Twitter deletes criticism of Islam).
An Israeli-German artist best known for his “YOLOCAUST” project, which combined selfies taken at Berlin’s Holocaust memorial with images of concentration camp victims, released a video Monday targeting Twitter’s failure to address online anti-Semitism and racism, with a series of offensive tweets drawn on the ground at the social media giant’s offices.
In the video, Shahak Shapira said that despite alerting Twitter of some 300 tweets containing offensive content, the company had failed to delete most of the messages. He added that in nine of the cases, he was told the tweets were not in violation of the company’s policies.
Due to Twitter’s inaction over the offensive tweets, Shapira decided that “if Twitter forces me to see those things, then they’ll have to see them too,” leading him to travel to the company’s Hamburg offices and draw 30 of the tweets outside the entrance using chalk from a spray can.
Among the tweets that Shapira painted on the ground were messages such as “JEWISH PIG,” “LET’S GAS SOME JEWS TOGETHER,” “GAYS TO AUSCHWITZ,” and “GERMANY NEEDS A FINAL SOLUTION FOR ISLAM,” next to which he wrote “HEY TWITTER: DELETE THIS CRAP.”
While the tweets drawn on the sidewalk outside the office were later cleaned, the messages written in the street and on the stairs across from the building were left untouched, which Shapira said “fits well with Twitter’s policy of cleaning in front of their own door and leaving the rest to be someone else’s problem.”
A number of passersby said they supported Shapira’s painting of the messages outside Twitter’s offices, saying they hoped it would bring attention to the company not deleting such tweets [while they quickly delete and censor Tweets criticizing homosexuality or Islam].