On Saturday afternoon, as the media descended upon the alleged Pittsburgh shooter’s long trail of anti-Semitic social-media posts, Kate Friedman Siegel began to feel frustrated. To her, it all felt familiar. In fact, she had reported similar messages to Instagram just last month, and watched the platform do nothing about them.
Siegel shared screenshots of two anti-Semitic memes she had received via Instagram direct message in September, both of which the platform failed to take action on. One featured an oven with the phrase Jewish stroller plastered on top. The other was a Dr. Seuss parody book cover titled “Horton Hears a Jew,” by “Dr. Goebbels.”
Are we sure this doesn’t “violate community guidelines,” @instagram? I’m rarely able see follow up on the (many) reports I submit on the anti-Semitism we receive, bc I get too many notifications. I did catch this one, & it worries me that this is the response to all my reports ... pic.twitter.com/WsO5jSMsue— Crazy Jewish Mom (@crazyjewishmom) October 27, 2018
Update! @instagram just deleted MY post asking why they allow Nazi propaganda on their platform, saying that MY post violated community guidelines. Guess complaining about community guidelines is against community guidelines. Swastikas are cool though. pic.twitter.com/oiREkRYsgt— Crazy Jewish Mom (@crazyjewishmom) October 27, 2018
Siegel initially joined Instagram under the handle crazyjewishmom in 2014 to share funny text messages from her “crazy Jewish mother.” The account went viral; she now has nearly 800,000 followers, has written a book based off her Instagram account, and hosts a weekly podcast advice show.
Siegel has received anti-Semitic messages since she started the account. But recently, they’ve reached a fever pitch. Siegel said she’s been tagged in memes that depict Adolf Hitler doing the Nazi salute, people desecrating the Israeli flag, people Photoshopping her as Anne Frank, people joking about putting her into a gas chamber, and worse. She reports the ones she sees to Instagram, but she gets so many notifications that there’s no easy way for her to keep track of which reports Instagram has taken action on and which it hasn’t.