MKs back Erdan's call for Facebook crackdown on terrorists

MK Revital Swid (Zionist Union) said that after recent terrorist attacks in Europe, Facebook began to automatically remove incitement, and yet in Israel it does not do so.

July 6, 2016 20:58
2 minute read.
Yuval Steinitz

Yuval Steinitz at the Jerusalem Post's Diplomatic Conference. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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Lawmakers called for Facebook to block posts inciting to terrorism against Israelis, as part of a motion to the agenda in the Knesset on Wednesday.

The discussion came four days after Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has “blood on his hands” following last week’s terrorist attacks, and most of the MKs who spoke agreed.

MK Merav Ben-Ari (Kulanu) said, “Facebook is supposed to connect people, but unfortunately, these connections often create expressions of hatred and even incitement to murder.

Ben-Ari accused Facebook of hypocrisy and creating a hierarchy of threats in which those against Israelis take much longer to be removed.

MK Revital Swid (Zionist Union) said that after recent terrorist attacks in Europe, Facebook began to automatically remove incitement, and yet in Israel it does not do so, though she asked its executives to do so months ago.

National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud), responding instead of Erdan, pointed out that after US President Barack Obama asked that Islamic State-produced content not be allowed on Facebook, the social network started removing such posts.

“When big America said ISIS content can lead to terrorism and violence, Facebook respected that and took steps to remove ISIS messages, justifiably so. So, in the same way, we must demand that content calling to murder Jews and messages from Hamas and Islamic Jihad and from individuals calling to murder Jews, who say to destroy and expel them... must be removed,” Steinitz said.

He added that the government has already asked Facebook to make a greater effort to block such content.

“A Palestinian teen entered the home of an Israeli and killed a 13-year-old who was asleep in bed. The probably would not have happened if the incitement hadn’t entered his home and he wasn’t surrounded by these messages online,” Steinitz posited.

Meretz MK Michal Rozin took issue with the other speakers’ statements.

“Why does [Erdan] suddenly have a problem with Facebook? Let’s admit it. He has a problem with Facebook because we have a wave of terrorism and the government doesn’t have any answers for it, as we can see... He found someone to blame,” she said.

According to Rozin, the “occupation” is the reason for terrorism.

Steinitz called for Rozin to “stop trying to sell us this lie that no occupation would mean no terrorism.”

The minister pointed out that France, America and the Yazidis are not occupying anyone, yet they face terrorism.

Steinitz, a professor of philosophy, pointed to terrorist attacks that took place before 1967, and to the fact that terrorism coming from the Gaza Strip continued after Israel evacuated the area, to call Rozin’s statement a logical fallacy.

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