During the Eradicate Hate Global Summit the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association called upon the social media platforms to stop enabling the largest international far-right hate fest.

Co-founder of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Rafal Pankowski participated in the Eradicate Hate Global Summit held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (USA) on 19-21 September 2022. The Summit is the most comprehensive anti-hate conference in the world. It unites experts and leaders from around the globe, who are dedicated to eradicating all forms of hate-fuelled violence. The mission of the Summit is to identify and implement effective solutions for collective change.

The speakers at the 2022 Global Summit included the United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide Alice Wairimu Nderitu and Deborah Lipstadt, the US Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism.

Rafal Pankowski paid tribute to the victims of the war against Ukraine and said that Putin’s war ‘once again shows what the politics of hate and authoritarianism leads to: mass violence and human suffering’.

In his presentation Pankowski described the growth of the annual far-right march on the Polish Independence Day (11 November) in Warsaw as an example of the growing internationalisation of far-right extremism. The march is organized by Polish extreme-right groups with the participation of numerous racist extremist organizations and activists from across Europe and North America. It has regularly gathered more than 100,000 participants and it has often turned violent. Pankowski referred to the march as a ‘super-spreader’ of hate and ‘Charlottesville on steroids’. In November 2021, the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association and the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism appealed to Facebook and Twitter to stop the promotion and fundraising for the march.

The Eradicate Hate Global Summit grew from the deadliest antisemitic attack in US history. On 27 October 2018, a heavily armed gunman, who earlier had posted online antisemitic and anti-refugee messages, massacred worshippers from three different congregations at the Tree of Life Synagogue. In the aftermath of the attack, the people of Pittsburgh responded in ways that have been described as distinctive in the history of antisemitism. They not only visibly stood in solidarity with the Jewish people, but also offered comfort and aid, and spoke up against hate.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent anti-racist organization founded in Warsaw in 1996. It is a member of the International Network Against Cyber Hate (INACH) and the Global Alliance Against Digital Hate and Extremism (GADHE). The Association also takes part in international projects to counteract online hate speech such as ‘Get The Trolls Out’.


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Facebook and Twitter Must Act Responsibly, Protect Their Users and Democracy by Removing Organizing Pages for the March

5 November 2021

In recent years, the Polish Independence Day March has attracted tens of thousands of participants led by far-right extremists and hate groups from Poland and many other countries, making a name for itself as one of the largest far-right gatherings in the world. The annual march, which often descends into violent clashes, is similar to what the USA witnessed at the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., but on a much larger scale, with up to 250,000 participants taking to the streets in recent years.

The march has turned into a magnet for the global far right.

– ‘It’s hard to escape the antisemitic, white nationalist, and anti-LGBTQ hate spewed among the red clouds of smoke billowing from rockets and flares shot off by marchers,’ said Wendy Via, co-founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism.

In 2020, as in previous years, there were multiple injuries during the march, including among police officers. Along the route of the march, a flat was set on fire because of a rainbow flag displayed in a window at the building.

This year again, Facebook and Twitter are both playing a role in promoting and fundraising for the march, by allowing the pages operated by its organizers. A few years ago, the ‘Independence March’ fan page was removed, but quickly restored to Facebook.

Global Project Against Hate and Extremism and the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association, based in Poland, want to see the promotion and fundraising for this event on Facebook and Twitter stopped immediately.

This year, there is even a greater threat of violence, especially against women. The march, slated for November 11, has been banned by the Polish courts and a women’s demonstration is scheduled to take place along the same route instead. Although Warsaw mayor Rafal Trzaskowski has said ‘if the nationalists congregate on November 11, it will be unlawful assembly,’ the organizers said they are planning on marching and will not change their route despite the court’s ban.

– ‘The fact this event has drawn so many far-right groups with a tacit support of the ruling party, and that extremists from around the world travel to participate illustrates the crisis of democratic values in Poland and elsewhere,’ said Rafal Pankowski, co-founder of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association.

Even with this year’s march banned by the courts, Facebook is maintaining the page promoting a potentially violent event already deemed illegal by the Polish courts. The page has more than 257,000 followers. Among many other posts, their pinned post advertises and fund raises for the event, calling for supporters to ‘HELP US organize the biggest patriotic manifestation in Europe.’

Twitter has a much smaller presence in Poland, but the tech company is also allowing for the promotion of and fundraising for this event, on a page that has more than 25,000 followers. The main organizer, Roman Bakiewicz, with more than 26,000 followers himself also posts about the upcoming march.

In light of the recent Facebook document leaks, there is no question that hateful non-English content has a much greater chance of remaining on the platform. A recent ‘Washington Post’ study showed that Facebook’s algorithm drives polarizing and negative political content in Poland. And from GPAHE’s earlier reporting, it is known that Twitter has allowed antisemitic and anti-LGBTQ content to remain.

Facebook and Twitter have allowed the march’s organizers to promote and fundraise for this hateful event for years.

– ‘Facebook and Twitter claim they have systems in place to get hate off their platforms and moderate content in potentially violent situations – they need to walk their talk,’ said Via. ‘These companies must act and stop their platforms from promoting a far-right, unlawful event that is definitely going to spread hate and will likely once again turn violent.’

Both ‘NEVER AGAIN’ and Global Project Against Hate and Extremism have contacted Facebook and Twitter to ask that they do not allow for promotion of or fundraising for this march on their platforms.

Launched in 2020, the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism (GPAHE) was founded by Heidi Beirich and Wendy Via to address the gap in efforts to stop transnational hate and far-right extremism movements, particularly US-based activity that is exported to other countries and across borders.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent anti-racist organization founded in Warsaw in 1996. Since 2005, it has led the ‘Racism-Delete’ campaign, which has the objective of removing antisemitic and racist content from the internet. The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is a member of the International Network Against Cyber Hate (INACH). The Association also takes part in projects to counteract online hate speech such as ‘Get the Trolls Out’ and ‘Open Code for Hate-Free Communication’.

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