Twitter faces backlash over handling of anti-Semitic posts

FILE - In this file photo Oct. 18, 2017, grime music artist Wiley during an event in London. British Police are investigating after a stream of anti-Semitic comments were posted on Wileys Instagram and Twitter accounts, Wiley's management company have dropped the artist, and twitter have banned him for seven days after posts Friday and Saturday July 25, 2020. (Ian West/PA via AP) (Ian West, PA Archive/PA Images)

LONDON – Some Twitter users are staging a 48-hour boycott of the platform over its handling of a stream of anti-Semitic comments that were posted on British rapper Wiley’s social media accounts.

The boycott, under the hashtag #NoSafeSpaceForJewHate, followed complaints that Twitter was too slow to remove offensive material. Some offensive material was also posted on Instagram.

U.K. Home Secretary Priti Patel has written to the social media companies demanding an explanation as to the speed of their response. Some of Wiley’s posts were visible for more than 12 hours before being removed.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson did not take part in the boycott, as he needed to communicate “important public health messages,” his Downing Street office said.

“But at the same time we have set out very clearly that Twitter’s performance has not been good enough in response to the anti-Semitic comments made by Wiley and it needs to do much better,” his spokesman James Slack said.

London’s Metropolitan Police are investigating.

Twitter banned the grime artist for seven days after posts Friday and Saturday. He was also dropped by his management company after he shared the comments, which called Jews “cowards’’ and “snakes,’’ among other things.

The 41-year-old artist, whose real name is Richard Cowie, is known as the Godfather of Grime. He received an MBE for services to music in 2018.

Neither Twitter nor Facebook, the parent company of Instagram, could immediately be reached for comment.