Andre Oboler’s CIE to Deconstruct the web of hate – if funding can be found

Adam Kamien, Deconstructing a web of hate, Australian Jewish News, 7 January, 2011. Pg 4.

A NEW website aimed at mobilising world Jewry, governments and community organisations against the proliferation of online anti-Semitism will be launched on January 24.

The Community Internet Engagement (CIE) site is the brainchild of social media expert Andre Oboler, who has consulted with governments and community organisations around the world.

According to Oboler, theCIE will be a hub for research, education, technology support and advocacy.

He said social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as YouTube and others, are easily manipulated by anti-Israel and anti-Semitic campaigners and need to be properly held to account.

“The idea is to build some software whereby artificial intelligence, as well as more wide-spread engagement, would allow us to track pretty much all online anti-Semitism,” Oboler said.

The CIE got off the ground in 2008 thanks to funding from The Pratt Foundation, and has since been coopted by the Zionist Federation of Australia.

Oboler is currently rattling the tin for the CIE and told The AJN his is hoping to raise $2 million, a significant portion of which will be used to create unique software. He would not be drawn on the nature of the program though, citing “trade secret issues”.

“The Anti-Defamation League and the Simon Weisenthal Centre have given up on doing empirical measuring of online anti-Semitism. They Reckon the Internet’s too big, too complicated,” Oboler said.

The co-editor of Australian Jewish online discussion forum Galus Australis, Rachel Sacks-Davis, also believes combating online anti-Semitism is a near insurmountable pursuit.

“I commend any efforts to encourage Jewish community organisations to engage in the online environment as this will help these organisations to communicate more effectively with the Jewish community. However, it is unlikely that it will be an effective way to combat online anti-Semitism,” she said.

“Until anti-Semitism is completely eradicated from the world, it will not be eradicated from the internet. The best strategy for the Jewish community is to create online spaces for Jewish expression, which provide opportunities for people – both Jewish and non-Jewish – to have positive interactions with Jews and Jewish culture.”

But Oboler is adamant inroads can be made. He believes the creation of an online equivalent of the Community Security Group could significantly reverse worrying trends towards anti-Israel and anti-Semitic campaigning on the internet.

“The result would be we would have a handle on what was happening and we would be able to start reversing some of the public opinion losses that we’re suffering,” Oboler said.

To donate to the Community Internet Engagement project contact Andre Oboler through his website www.oboler.com


Donations via the myCause website

Please note, donations are NOT tax deductible, but every donation is greatly appreciated.

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4 Responses to Andre Oboler’s CIE to Deconstruct the web of hate – if funding can be found

  1. Edoe Cohen says:

    Kudos Andre! You are doing amazing work and are a spearhead in the effort to battle this ugly phenomenon online. With your expertise and passion I am sure change can be made. Where is the donate now button!? Good luck!

  2. admin says:

    Thank you Edoe, I’ve added it to this page as well.

  3. Micha Sass says:

    This is an incredibly interesting project. Will your software be generic, will it be able to detect any form of prejudice, for example will it be able to detect and quantify homophobia or racism towards other peoples or religions? Machine learning and data mining are an exciting new methodology, given the vastness of data held on databases across the Internet.

    Is this a proprietary software? I think such a software would benefit from an open source method of development.

  4. Micha Sass says:

    Good job! Whatever approach you take with this, tackling antisemitism is such a valuable cause. Things have gotten a long way out of hand, and there is little information to show the scale of the situation.

    Good luck!

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