More than a dozen Jewish TikTok creators and celebrities confronted TikTok executives and other employees in a private meeting on Wednesday night, urging them to do more to address a surge of antisemitism and harassment on the popular video service.
The meeting, held on a video call for about 90 minutes and joined by more than 30 people in all, included the actors Sacha Baron Cohen, Debra Messing and Amy Schumer. It was led by Adam Presser, TikTok’s head of operations, and Seth Melnick, its global head of user operations. The executives said they wanted to know more about what the creators were experiencing to improve the app, according to a recording of the meeting obtained by The New York Times.
The celebrities and creators described, sometimes with fiery rhetoric, how TikTok’s tools did not prevent a flood of comments like “Hitler was right” or “I hope you end up like Anne Frank” under videos posted by them and other Jewish users.
“What is happening at TikTok is it is creating the biggest antisemitic movement since the Nazis,” Mr. Cohen, who does not appear to have an official TikTok account, said early in the call. He criticized violent imagery and disinformation on the platform, telling Mr. Presser “shame on you” and claiming that TikTok could “flip a switch” to fix antisemitism on its platform.
Mr. Presser and Mr. Melnick of TikTok, who are also Jewish and based in the United States, were largely conciliatory in the meeting. “Obviously a lot of what Sacha says, there’s truth to that,” Mr. Presser said after a pause. Mr. Presser said there was truth to Mr. Cohen’s comments, but later said there was no “magic button” to address all the concerns raised.
TikTok is urgently trying to push back against escalating claims that it is promoting pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel content through its powerful feeds. Several Washington lawmakers have renewed their calls to ban the app, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, arguing that Beijing may be influencing the content promoted through the platform’s algorithms.
Antisemitic and Islamophobic hate speech has surged on many online services since the Israel-Hamas war began. Antisemitic content soared more than 919 percent on X and 28 percent on Facebook in the month since Oct. 7, according to the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish advocacy group. TikTok has gained particular…