Facebook ignores calls to close 'Hate Israel' group

By SAM GREENBERG
April 22, 2009 23:29
2 minute read.

 
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Facebook has yet to take down a page called "Hate Israel," which contains anti-Israel and anti-Semitic posts as well as calls for violence from some of its over 122,000 members, despite the fact that Facebook has been alerted to this page and its content. An Internet organization named the Jewish Internet Defense Force (JIDF) has been trying to get this group shut down since Monday. As the group became extremely large, JIDF organized a mass effort to get Facebook to close it down. "We've started a major campaign against this fan page, 'Hate Israel,'" said JIDF spokesman David, who does not release his last name because he has been the recipient of four death threats and subjected to other harassment. "The level of Jew hatred, hatred against Israel and violence promotion is alarming." As part of the campaign, the JIDF urged its 12,000 on-line followers to report the group to Facebook and also sent e-mails directly to Facebook. David believes that Facebook has received these reports, since he says he can tell that Facebook has visited the JIDF's site. Despite this, the group still exists, and Facebook has yet to respond to the JIDF's e-mails with anything other than an automated response stating they are looking into the matter. Facebook could not be reached for comment. "We don't understand why they're not responding to this quickly enough," David said. "Some of the time, Facebook is very responsive," he added. The JIDF has been successful in taking down hundreds of hate groups from Facebook, as well as hateful content on Youtube, Wikipedia, and Blogger. Formally founded last march following on-line celebrations of the Merkaz Harav Yeshiva shooting, the JIDF previously consisted of anonymous on-line activists. "Our main goal is to take on the jihadists, the anti-Semites and the Holocaust deniers on-line as well as to share news and information about Israel," David said. When the JIDF e-mails Facebook to report groups, they show how a group violates Facebook's own rules. According to Facebook's Terms of Use, a user cannot "upload, post, transmit, share, store or otherwise make available any content that we deem to be harmful, threatening, unlawful, defamatory, infringing, abusive, inflammatory, harassing, vulgar, obscene, fraudulent, invasive of privacy or publicity rights, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable." David also points out that according to the Terms of Use, a page can be used "solely for commercial, political, or charitable purposes," and cannot "criticize another individual or entity." David said the JIDF is also working on closing smaller hate groups, such as one titled "We Hate Jews," which has 38 members.

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