The Zoom boom and anti-social media

The JC Leader, 22 May 2020

May 24, 2020 09:38

One of the most striking and, perhaps, surprising aspects of life under lockdown has been the speed and ease with which Zoom and other such tools have been adopted as part of communal life.

Some services have moved online and, even for those who cannot countenance the use of technology for minyanim or on Shabbat, it has swiftly become the norm for many non-religious gatherings. Some have even argued that they feel somehow more connected and involved than before the lockdown.

This is an opportunity that we must seize and build on when, eventually, we move out of the crisis. It is a statement of the obvious that online communication is not a satisfactory substitute for physical presence.

But we now know that there are other mechanisms for keeping a sense of community. We have stumbled upon a means of drawing in some people who have felt excluded or undervalued and it is vital that we do not fall back into the old, ‘‘normal’’ ways of doing things.

There is something depressingly predictable about the refusal of TikTok to delete an antisemitic video of a taxi driver joking about a Holocaust victim’s tattoo. As we report, it is far from the only antisemitic video on the site.

The company’s response may be predictable but it is no less shameful for that. Social media companies repeatedly refuse to take responsibility for their platforms. The message they send is clear and unambiguous: they are entirely comfortable with Jew hate.

May 24, 2020 09:38

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