In the News

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution looks at the role of social media in limiting the reach and growth of domestic terrorists, using CSW’s research from The Extremist Next Door report. 

 

Read the article here. 

The Coalition for a Safer Web (CSW) announced today that former (and the nation’s first) Secretary of Homeland Security — Governor Tom Ridge – will help lead CSW’s expanded nationwide plan to forge a new private/public sector Social Media Early Warning Center (Center). 

Read the press release here

CSW’s VP for Content Moderation, Eric Feinberg, joined The AM Show in New Zealand to discuss the Capitol Riot and why the US has to join the Christchurch call. See the segment here. 

4/19/21: In partnership with Digital Citizens Alliance, CSW releases its latest report on online extremism and how domestic terrorists are still hiding in plain sight. 

 

See the press release here…

 

…the WaPo coverage here…

 

…and the report here. 

March 15: Accounts peddling steroids, opioids and other drugs remain easy to find on major social networks, casting doubt on the companies’ ability to enforce their own policies against such illegal sales.

 

See the article here

 

…and the report here.  

 

 

 

WASHINGTON DC, March 15, 2021 
 

As the Biden Administration fires on full cylinders to stop the spread of Covid disinformation, the Coalition for a Safer Web (CSW) in partnership with the Digital Citizens Alliance (DCA) continues to find bogus Covid vaccines and other illegal drugs for sale on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube – in violation of their respective customer agreements and repeated public pledges.
 
The CSW/DCA joint Digital Weeds 2021 report revisited past research conducted by CSW & DCA to determine if social media platforms have permanently de-platformed illegal drug sale activity that was brought to their attention.

Our research found that the fraudulent sale of COVID-19 vaccines, which was identified by DCA and CSW in February, is readily available to the unknowing consumer despite calls for action by Facebook’s Advisory Board to address COVID-19 vaccine misinformation and related dangers

Social media platforms continue to fail removing illegal offers of opioids, steroids and COVID-19 “vaccines.”  after they have been alerted of specific posts and long past when they have made public pledges to do a better job.

CSW & DCA researchers searched for old posts and previous users who were attempting to conduct illegal activity. In some cases, the research teams found accounts and similar posts from the same users, whose posts were taken down years earlier, still up on Facebook & YouTube. In some cases, the research teams found current accounts and similar posts from the same users who were identified years earlier.

What we found:
  • Criminal activity and/or illicit activity highlighted in previous research, such as the selling of opioids, steroids, and malware, can still be found easily today.
  • Many videos and posts shared in prior CSW and DCA reports and/or with media contacts are still available across numerous social media platforms.
  • Facebook & YouTube enjoy advertising revenue from premium, respected brands running next to videos and/or posts for illegal and/or illicit item, including ads from Proctor & Gamble. The advertising industry’s Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) is supposed to put an end to brand advertising appearing alongside illegal activities, but obviously is failing to do so.  CSW continues to perform the work which GARM — with all its clout with social media and financial resources — should be doing.  
  • The platforms allow for communication between drug pushers and potential buyers. Whether by containing phone numbers and emails in videos and/or posts or allowing for conversations to happen in chats.
  • The platforms’ algorithms amplify connectivity between potential buyers and sellers of illegal and/or illicit items. CSW & DCA researchers, acting as potential buyers looking for drugs, showed that when they look for drugs on Instagram, Instagram will in turn begin directing drug sellers back to the potential buyer.
  • When outed by media outlets, platforms will often take down specific videos, but not address the larger problem. This leaves consumers vulnerable to similar, or sometimes even the same scams, that inspired the news coverage in the first place.
The social media platforms rely on its users to report illicit content for free, even though It is humanly impossible for one person – or even a group of people to get all this,” said CSW’s Eric proof pointthe lead researcher on the Digital Weeds report. “We have offered our tools to the social media platforms so the companies can find this content that puts consumers at risk. So why don’t they use it?” 

Ambassador Marc Ginsberg, President of the Coalition for a Safer Web, added:
 “Our report is another abject proofpoint that so long as social media companies are unregulated and left to run wild, consumers will be exposed to the criminal web marketplace opened by extremists and terrorists hawking illicit, dangerous drugs to fund their organizations and operations. Until Congress acts, both the FDA (by issuing formal warning letters prohibiting the sale of illegal drugs) and the FTC (by prohibiting criminal operations on social media companies) must step in immediately to protect the American people?”    
 

On January 17, 2021 CSW sued Apple in federal court, demanding that they remove Telegram from their app store for failing to respond to violent, extremist content on its platform. 

 

Our press release can be found here…

 

You can read about the suit in the Washington Post here… 

 

In Bloomberg here… 

 

And you can see the filing here. 

In July 2020, CSW President Marc Ginsberg wrote to Apple CEO Tim Cook about the dangerous role Telegram plays as a communication tool for white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and other extremist groups, asking him to hold Telegram accountable for their content. In light of recent events and the role Telegram played in facilitating the organization and communication of groups involved in the assault at the Capitol, we are republishing the letter here. 

CSW’s President Marc Ginsberg in the Washington Post on how plans for Wednesday’s assault on the Capitol happened in plain view on social media and law enforcement ignored warnings from watch groups, including CSW. Read it here. 

CSW has been monitoring the “off the radar” far right social media platforms
(Parler, MeWe, Rumble, Telegram, etc.) for many days since our first press release on January 3rd warning about potential violence in Washington which we had uncovered on these sites.

 

Sadly, our warnings went largely unheeded.

 

Today’s twin decisions by Twitter and Facebook to boot Trump off of their platforms are small consolation for what we continue to eye on social media sites loyal to Trump and his most ardent and cult-like extremist followers:
unyielding and accelerated incitement to more political violence and threats
to the lives of Congressmen and leading politicians following yesterday’s
Capitol attack.

The Coalition for a Safer Web issued the following press release outlining its investigation — as reported in the January 1 and January 5 editions of the Washington Post, into the role of extremist social media platforms and a website tied to President Trump to incite hate and violence in Washington tonight and tomorrow (January 5 & 6). Read more here. 

CSW announces today a press release detailing how right wing and fringe social media platforms, such as PARLER, are undermining public support for the pending national anti-Covid vaccination program.

These are sinister efforts, orchestrated in many instances by right-wing Trump supporters who are directly attacking the efficacy of the vaccines and President-elect Biden’s policies and appointees. Read more here. 

Several weeks ago the Coalition for a Safer Web commenced an investigation into the new pro-Trump social media network —
PARLER.  We turned our findings over to the Washington Post.

 

PARLER is yet another example of social media organizations failing in their
most basic duty and responsibility to protect the public — even with the most
lax content moderation policies.  There is no parental control whatsoever on
PARLER to prevent children under 18 from accessing it.

The Coalition for a Safer Web issued a press release today
detailing how Trump-supporting white supremacist groups are principally
responsible for planning this Saturday’s “Million MAGA Rally” in Washington,
D.C.

Proud Boys and other white supremacist anti-Semitic neo-Nazi groups have
created extensive social media operations to support the march, instigated by
Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud.  A counter rally is also planned by
anarchist antifa supporters who have repeatedly clashed with Trump white
nationalist groups in other American cities in recent months.

The failure of President Trump to condemn white supremacy and the Proud Boys was met with a social media explosion by the group as validation. CSW’s President in the Washington Post. 

CSW President Amb. Marc Ginsberg testified on Capitol Hill in front of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce regarding the role of social media companies in mainstreaming extremist content. See the hearing here. 

CSW’s VP for Content Moderation Eric Feinberg interviews on Scripps TV about the role of social media in spreading misinformation and ways to combat the spread during the current pandemic. Learn more here. 

CSW President Amb. Marc Ginsberg and Vice-President Eric Feinberg look into the continuing prevalence of QAnon conspiracists on social media platforms and expose how they are evading social media moderators. Read the details here. 

Andy Parker writes for CNN about his fight to take down from YouTube and Facebook the brutal murder of his daughter on live TV and the role of Section 230. Read more here

As more major U.S. corporate advertisers join the Facebook “Stop Hate for Profit” ad boycott, what happens when the boycott ends? CSW President Marc Ginsberg argues that a Social Media Standards Board is the only answer to social media’s problems. Read his Op-Ed in The Hill here. 

CSW is calling on companies to boycott Telegram and remove it from their app stores as it becomes the preferred messaging app among extremists promoting violence in the US. Read the press release and see the evidence here.

See coverage of our work in Politico Tech here. 

CSW issued a press release criticizing President Trump’s Executive Order (EO) on social media censorship.  Although CSW supports legislation to eliminate Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, Trump’s battle with Twitter completely ignores the real dangers of Section 230 to the American public. Read the release here

CSW announces it has uncovered the back door route utilized to circumvent restrictions against the spread of the notorious “Plandemic” video, as reported in today’s Washington Post.

Read the press release here. 

Posts selling unproven drug therapies to treat the novel coronavirus continued to surface on social networks over the last week, despite the companies’ promises to promote public health and crack down on misleading information. CSW’s Eric Feinberg in the Washington Post. 

Sellers hawking medical masks and bogus coronavirus cures are doing brisk business on YouTube, researchers for the Digital Citizens Alliance (DCA) and the Coalition for a Safer Web (CSW) found after an 18-day investigation from March 6-24. Read the report here: DCA CSW CoronaYouTube Report 3.30.20

According to research done by CSW and Digital Citizens Alliance, Facebook is still advertising masks for sale during the COVID-19 pandemic despite pledging to remove them. Read and watch more on CNN. 

CSW is urging the US Government to impose additional economic sanctions on Russia for harboring Rinaldo Nazzaro — the American terrorist neo-Nazi leader of “The Base.”

 
The Base is the most dangerous anti-Semitic/anti-minority trans-national
neo-Nazi operation.  It is responsible for inciting on social media violence
and vandalism against Jewish and minority houses of worship and community centers.  Several of its members were recently arrested in Georgia and Maryland by the FBI for plotting acts of violence against the Jewish community and other crimes. Read the Press Release here. 

Facebook ramps up outreach efforts as scrutiny and criticism mounts and trust is at an all time low. Read about CSW’s call for the NFL to not show their commercial while providing havens to anti-Semitic groups here

The sale of illicit wares across social media platforms is raising questions about how well the companies are policing their sites. Read Eric Feinberg in the Washington Post

Outside monitor shows ads run adjacent to terrorist-themed posts, which is nearly impossible to control. Eric Feinberg quoted in AdAge

Profile on CSW’s Dan Shefet. Listen and read at NPR

Presentation given by Amb. Ginsberg and Eric Feinberg to the National Assembly of Rabbis

Instagram isn’t just for cute dog photos and catching up with your friends. Eric Feinberg quoted in the Washington Post

contact@coalitionsw.org

The Homer Building

601 13th St, NW 

Ste 1150N

Washington, DC 20005