Facebook removes '3rd intifada' page

Move comes after administrators of page found to have participated in calls for violence, Facebook says.

By
March 29, 2011 17:36
2 minute read.
Third Intifada Facebook page

Facebook intifada page 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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Facebook removed a page on its social networking site Tuesday that called for a third intifada against Israel, after the site’s monitors said administrators of the page were found to be participating in calls for violence.

The Arabic-language page had attracted over 330,000 fans since it went online and issued a call for a mass march into Israel from neighboring countries.

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The decision to take down the page came days after Facebook had refused to remove it, but agreed to monitor the page and remove posts that may incite violence.

“The page, entitled ‘The Third Palestinian Intifada,’ began as a call for peaceful protest, even though it used a term that has been associated with violence in the past,” a Facebook spokesman told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

“In addition, the administrators initially removed comments that promoted violence.

However, after the publicity of the page, more comments deteriorated to direct calls for violence. Eventually, the page’s creators also participated in these calls. After administrators of the page received repeated warnings about posts that violated our policies, we removed the page,” he added.

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The spokesman went on to emphasize Facebook’s policy to uphold freedom of speech, but said it will not tolerate calls to violence.

“We continue to believe that people on Facebook should be able to express their opinions, and we don’t typically take down content that speaks out against countries, religions, political entities, or ideas. However, we monitor pages that are reported to us, and when they degrade to direct calls for violence or expressions of hate – as occurred in this case – we have, and will continue to, take them down.”

The decision to remove the page was welcomed by Israel’s Diaspora and Public Diplomacy Minister Yuli Edelstein, who had sent a letter to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on the matter last week. The Anti-Defamation League’s national director, Abraham Foxman, also praised the move.

“We applaud Facebook’s willingness to continue to engage and consider this important question, and we deeply appreciate their responsiveness,” Foxman said in a statement.

““By taking this action, Facebook has now recognized an important standard to be applied when evaluating issues of non-compliance with its terms of service involving distinctions between incitement to violence and legitimate calls for collective expressions of opinion and action.”

Foxman added that he hoped Facebook “continues to vigilantly monitor their pages for other groups that call for violence or terrorism against Jews and Israel.”

Since going viral, the page carried posts such as “Prepare: Death comes to you, O raider of this abode.”

Additionally, the page’s administrators posted a quotation of a Hadith (Islamic tradition) that is popular with radical groups, which reads, “The hour [of redemption] does not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and even the stones and trees say, ‘O Muslim, a Jew is behind me, so kill him,’” according to the SITE website, which monitors jihadi Internet activity.

A number of Facebook pages called “Third intifada” could still be found on the network on Tuesday evening, though they had only a small number of fans.

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