Bullying gays on Facebook is a “no, no,” but apparently calling for violent uprisings against Jews in Israel is just fine.
Despite numerous calls from Israeli and Jewish groups to take down a Facebook page calling for a “Third Palestinian Intifada” on May 15th, Facebook has refused to take down the page, instead saying it will be monitoring the content closely. Past Palestinian Intifadas, or violent uprisings, have resulted in the deaths of thousands of Israelis and Palestinians alike.
“We want Facebook to be a place where people can openly discuss issues and express their views, while respecting the rights and feelings of others,” Facebook said in a statement to the Jerusalem Post. “With now more than 500 million users from around the world, who have varying cultures and ideals, using Facebook as a place to discuss and share things that are important to them, we sometimes find people discussing and posting about topics that others may find controversial, inaccurate, or offensive.”
In October, Facebook announced its intention — in a response to a spate of suicides by gays who claimed to have been cyber-bullied — to take down hateful material directed at gays.
“It’s not just about removing bad content, it’s also about preventing it,” Facebook explained on its “Safety” page. “We believe that educating people about the lasting and damaging impact of hateful remarks is a shared responsibility and that’s why we routinely call upon top Internet safety experts – like members of our Safety Advisory Board – for advice and resources for our Safety Center and Safety Page.”
Israeli Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein sent a letter Wednesday to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg calling for the site to take down the page.
“On this Facebook page there are posted many remarks and movie clips which call for the killing of Israelis and Jews and the ‘liberating’ of Jerusalem and of Palestine through acts of violence,” Edelstein wrote.
Facebook’s inaction has angered many Jewish Americans, some of whom see it as a tacit acceptance of the potential violence.
“Is this a social network or a terrorist network?” Noah Pollak, executive director for the Emergency Committee for Israel, asked TheDC.
The Anti Defamation League has also contacted Facebook to request the page be taken down, calling it “an appalling abuse of technology to promote terrorist violence.”
““We are disappointed that Facebook has rejected our request to remove this site, which is in clear violation of their terms of service,” said Mr. Foxman. “We are especially disappointed in this case because in the past there has often been understanding and sensitivity from Facebook when we have brought violations of its own rules to its attention. We urge Facebook to reconsider its decision and remove this site, which by its very title incites violence.”
Currently the page has more than 342,000 “likes,” and includes a message for Facebook.
“If Facebook Blocked This Page…..All Muslims Will Boycott Facebok For Ever (sic),” the “Third Palestinian Intifada” administrators warn.
The administrators reportedly were inspired by the recent uprisings in the Middle East against the leaders of Egypt and Tunisia — many of which have been partially organized via social media.