hitler » ADL Blogs
Posts Tagged ‘hitler’
March 25, 2016

What Tay Taught us When the Internet Taught Her Hate Speech

It’s tough being born as a teenager. Yesterday, Microsoft launched its new artificial intelligence (AI) computer bot – named Tay and envisioned as a teenage girl – and she had a very rough first day.  She was immediately besieged by excited techies, the curious and the haters. In a few hours, she was drawn into tens of thousands of exchanges. In the process, racists, anti-Semites, misogynists and other haters manipulated her into repeating some highly offensive statements.  Microsoft may have taught Tay to converse and to retweet, but they failed to recognize that she would need to engage in some critical thinking, and to know how to recognize when someone else was saying something offensive. tay

Microsoft should have probably anticipated the problems Tay might encounter. However, Microsoft did not program Tay to spew hate.  It was clearly the Internet’s dark forces who came out to meet Tay and do their damage.

Microsoft and Tay  are not alone in facing this type of problem.  Every major Internet platform, interactive app and online business has experienced something similar at some time.  These hiccups are all learning experiences. In this case, Tay taught Microsoft and all of us a lesson. We need to be better aware of how quickly things can get ugly on the Internet, how important critical thinking is to all tech users, and  how, despite our best efforts, the worst bigots and haters online are never far from the surface.

Innovation, experimentation and adventure in technology are necessary and important, and should never be discouraged. Tay’s first exposure to people didn’t go as well as it might have.  But we hope everyone has learned something along the way. Tay 2.0 should be very interesting.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

August 26, 2015

Holocaust Analogies Continue To Taint Discourse On Wide Range Of Issues

The charged polit­i­cal debates over issues ranging from Iran to abortion continue to be tainted by inap­pro­pri­ate invo­ca­tions of Hitler, Nazis, and gen­eral Holo­caust imagery.huckabee-israel-holocaust-oven-tweet-twitter

These misplaced and offensive com­par­isons, made by politicians, pun­dits, and oth­er public figures,  trivialize this unique tragedy in human history.  They not only rely on historically incor­rect premises and exag­ger­a­tions, but also deflect atten­tion away from impor­tant national discussions.

For example, U.S. Senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz recently sent letters to pastors throughout the U.S. to encourage them to speak out against Planned Parenthood, claiming that abortion represents an “ongoing holocaust.” Of course, invoking the Holocaust in the discussions on abortion is nothing new.

The Iran deal is also an area where offensive Holocaust analogies have been increasingly cropping up. On July 26, for example, Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee stated in an interview that President Obama’s policies on Iran will “take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven.” Huckabee’s campaign also highlighted this inappropriate comparison in a graphic on Twitter.

The analogies are not only used by politicians.  In a sign of how our public discourse has coarsened, critics of public officials also invoke Nazi analogies.  When New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler publicly supported the proposed agreement on Iran, he reportedly was swamped with hateful messages on social media.  One commentator referred to him as a “kappo,” a reference to Jews who worked for the Nazis in concentration camps.  curt-schilling-muslims-hitler-tweet-twitter

The Holocaust comparisons are not limited to the political world either. On August 25, ESPN “Sunday Night Baseball” analyst and former major league pitcher Curt Schilling shared a post on Twitter that compared extremist Muslims to Nazis. The tweet suggested that a similar percentage of Muslims are extremists as Germans were Nazis. It also included an image of Hitler.

Such inappropriate Holocaust references seem to surface around almost any controversial issue. For example, during the charged polit­i­cal debate over gun con­trol in the after­math of the Sandy Hook Ele­men­tary School shoot­ing, there was a flurry of inap­pro­pri­ate invo­ca­tions of Hitler, Nazis, and gen­eral Holo­caust imagery by public figures.  Opposition to President Obama’s Affordable Care Act engendered similarly offensive comparisons.

Public discourse today is seriously lacking in civility and respect for different perspectives on important issues.  One unfortunate example of this lack of civility is repeated inappropriate references to the Holocaust.  It is long past time for public officials and public officials to stop invoking the Holocaust in an effort to score political points.

* As a 501(c )(3) non-profit orga­ni­za­tion, the Anti-Defamation League does not sup­port or oppose can­di­dates for polit­i­cal office.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

February 26, 2015

Mein Kampf Back on German Bookshelves – The Right Way

For the first time since the end of World War II, Hitler’s manifesto, Mein Kampf, will be available for sale in Germany. The 2,000-page edition includes extensive footnotes and historic annotations deemed critical by the German Government to the book being viewed in its appropriate context.adolf-hitler-mein-kampf-book

In a January 2014 Op-Ed in the New York Daily News, Anti-Defamation League National Director, Abraham H. Fox­man pre­sciently said,” As an impor­tant his­tor­i­cal doc­u­ment, “Mein Kampf” must remain avail­able to the pub­lic — but not with­out the essen­tial sup­ple­men­tary texts; the intro­duc­tions and adden­dums that put Hitler’s writ­ings into con­text and explain their rel­e­vance today.”

The German Government’s hand was forced on the issue when data came out that Mein Kampf was the top downloaded political science book on Amazon in 2013.  It has been readily available on many services outside Germany, where access by German citizens cannot be prevented. Additionally, the copyright on Mein Kampf expires this December which would make it freely available all across the Internet.

Major online book retailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble have worked with ADL over the years to place editorial reviews on Mein Kampf and other anti-Semitic works such as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and The International Jew to ensure that customers fully understand the authors’ background, intent, context and any issues surrounding the publications.  Recognizing that Mein Kampf will be readily available in Germany and can be an important educational tool, it is appropriate to acknowledge and support the German Government’s insistence upon providing the necessary context.

Tags: , , , , , ,