June 1 Update: A few days after CAMERA reported on Yahoo!’s anti-Semitic page, the offending post was deleted.
May 29 article — Yahoo! Answers touts itself as “the one place where the world shares what they know to help each other out,” a site where “you can share your intelligence for a good cause.” It’s reasonable to believe Yahoo! intends its site to be just that. But not all visitors to Yahoo! Answers share its beneficent goals.
As with Wikipedia and other Web 2.0 destinations, those who wish to spread misinformation and hatred can use Yahoo! Answers to propagate their views. Yahoo! has guidelines in place to prevent its being a mouthpiece for hate speech, but, at least in the case of one egregiously anti-Semitic page, it does not enforce those guidelines.
Yahoo! Answers works like this: An Internet surfer posts a question, and others reply with their answers. The questioner then is able to highlight what he or she considers the “best answer.”
In February 2008, a member of Yahoo! Answers asked the world why Judaism “glorifies genocide”:
Is the jewish strategy inspired by ancient “scripture”?
I’m thinking of the way judaism glorifies genocide – Joshua and Jericho,that type of thing. Are they basing their whole politico-military strategy on mimicing these old atrocities? [sic]
The “Best Answer,” according to the Yahoo! page, is that Orthodox Jews “consider mass-murder to be very honorable”:
Yes,but more so in recent years than in the 1940’s. The rise of the Religious Right in jewish-occupied Palestine has resulted in an increasing identification of the biblical enemies with various Arab peoples. Certainly Orthodox jews consider mass-murder to be very honorable,and any reader of the Old Testament is acutely aware of the creepy preoccupation with killing babies,as in phrases such as “spare not the suckling babe” and the repeated recommedation to dash their brains out against rocks. There’s worse in the Talmud. Today the viciousness of the ancient hebrews is a guiding principle in the continuing attempt to liquidate the remaining Palestinians. [sic]
The offending Yahoo! Answers page can be found here.
The Yahoo! Answers Community Guidelines, supposedly “a core set of principles that must be followed by all members,” clearly forbid such hate speech. Another page clarifies that “questions and answers that express hate and intolerance have no place on Yahoo! Answers and should be reported. Do not use slurs to refer to groups of people ….”
The possible consequences of violating the guidelines, according to Yahoo!, include termination of a user’s Answers account or Yahoo! ID.
Although Yahoo! tells readers to flag questions or answers that violate its guidelines by clicking on a Report Abuse link, the posting was not removed even after a number of users clicked the link to notify Yahoo! of the anti-Semitic page.
Twice in April 2008, CAMERA phoned Yahoo! and reported the abuse to representatives of the company. Twice, CAMERA sent an email to Yahoo!’s abuse department pointing out the violation, asking why the posting wasn’t removed even after members clicked on the “Report It” link. Yahoo! has not replied, and its Answers page continues to tell its many visitors — one Yahoo! page claims “more people use Yahoo! Answers than own an iPod” — that Jews “glorify genocide” and “consider mass-murder to be very honorable.”
Yahoo! Answers is based out of Yahoo!’s European office. Interestingly, the anti-Semitic posting might not be compatible with some European countries’ anti-hate speech laws.