Jonathan Greenblatt
ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt

ADL announces plans for Silicon Valley center to combat hate online

As part of an expanded effort to combat online harassment and to protect civil rights, the Anti-Defamation League announced this week it plans to build a Silicon Valley command center to focus on the threat posed by cyberhate.

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt announced at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, that Redwood City-based Omidyar Network is providing seed funding for the center.

Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife, Pam.

The ADL said the center “will employ the best technology and seasoned experts to monitor, track, analyze and mitigate hate speech and harassment across the internet, in support of the Jewish community and other minority groups.”

“Now more than ever as anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism and other hatreds have exploded online, it’s critical that we are bringing best-in-class technology and resources to this fight,” Greenblatt said. “This is a natural extension of the cyberhate work ADL has been doing for decades and builds on the new presence we established last year in the Valley to collaborate even closer on the threat with the tech industry.”

A site for the new center was not announced.

Brittan Heller, who joined the ADL last September after working on human rights and cyber issues at the U.S. Department of Justice, will be founding director of the center and leads ADL’s cyberhate efforts.