UK video-sharing site BitChute condemned for hosting antisemitic hate

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UK video-sharing site BitChute condemned for hosting antisemitic hate

New investigation finds BitChute has failed to take down violent, racist content from its platform

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Antisemitic hate online
Antisemitic hate online

The British website BitChute has been hosting violently antisemitic content, despite recently stating it “proudly” signed up to a project aimed at tackling terrorist material online.

A new investigation reveals that the video-sharing website continues to share videos of the Christchurch terror attack, along with footage of John Earnest, a gunman who carried out a deadly attack on a synagogue in San Diego in 2019, being hailed as a martyr.

The site was shown to include 277 videos with the title or word “holohoax” and 130 videos with the title or word kike (an insulting name for Jewish people).

In other videos there are tropes about Jewish people controlling the government, media, finance and entertainment.

The Community Security Trust had also raised concerns about BitChute with the broadcasting regulator Ofcom last year.

Ofcom said in a report this week: “We consider that the nature of BitChute’s platform raises the risk that users may seek to use it to upload videos containing harmful content.”

BitChute has been renowned as a haven for extremist content since it launched in 2017.

A study of three million of its videos from 2019 to 2021 by US academics concluded that “much of its content contains hateful and extreme rhetoric, often antisemitic or racist in nature”.

But on October 6 it BitChute signed up to Tech Against Terrorism, a non-profit organisation launched by the UN that works with the tech industry to tackle terrorist content online.

It said it was “proud to announce our membership”.

BitChute was set up by Ray Vahey, a British software designer.

But earlier this month still  hosting a video of the 2019 Christchurch terror attack.

The atrocity was partially livestreamed by Brenton Tarrant, a white supremacist, as he murdered 51 people at two mosques in New Zealand.

BitChute took down the Christchurch-linked videos flagged by The Times.

Vahey, its chief executive, said: “We have zero tolerance for terrorist content, and since launch we have made many improvements, including expanding our moderation team, getting expert support and developing new tools. We also published our first transparency report this year.

“We will use the examples you provided to check and see where we can improve our processes, and we encourage anyone to flag content we may have missed. Platform moderation is challenging, and at least some of the examples you provided are still available on big tech platforms. We are committed to doing our part in keeping terrorism off our platform and the internet.”

Tech Against Terrorism said: “After an investigation we have found that BitChute has removed the violating content within several hours of it being reported.”


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