NGO threatens Facebook with lawsuit over Hamas's Al-Aqsa TV account

Because the state-owned TV channel in Gaza is run by Hamas, Facebook's maintenance of its account is comparable to providing the organization with support and resources, the letter alleges.

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November 15, 2018 14:17
1 minute read.
NGO threatens Facebook with lawsuit over Hamas's Al-Aqsa TV account

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is seen on stage during a town hall at Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, California September 27, 2015.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Israeli NGO Shurat HaDin has placed Facebook and its Israeli branch under formal legal notice for allowing Hamas’s Al-Aqsa TV to maintain Facebook and Instagram accounts.

In a letter to CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook Israel general manager Adi Soffer-Teeri, Shurat HaDin claims that Facebook’s continual support of Al-Aqsa TV violates US law. The NGO shared its letter with the media.

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Because the state-owned TV channel in Gaza is run by Hamas, Facebook’s maintenance of its account is comparable to providing the organization with support and resources, the letter alleges.

“This conduct is particularly egregious in light of the barrages of deadly missile and mortar attacks the Hamas has launched against Israeli civilians and residential centers in the last 24 hours,” writes Shurat HaDin president Nitsana Darshan-Leitner.

This is not the NGO’s first run-in with Facebook. Shurat HaDin sued the social media network in 2015, claiming that it incited violent attacks against Israelis by allowing anti-Israel content on its platform. The group created two Facebook pages, one anti-Arab and one anti-Israel with similar content to test Facebook’s guidelines. At first, just the anti-Israel page was taken down.


The organization tried to raise $30,000 to place billboards near Zuckerberg’s house in support of its case and to protest the company’s alleged incitement of violence. The case was thrown out of a New York court in 2017.

Shurat HaDin was created in 2003, modeled after the Southern Poverty Law Center’s strategy of financially crippling racists with litigation in America. It has been involved in a number of similar cases attacking groups for anti-Israel activity.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son, Yair, began working for the organization earlier this year as its social media coordinator.
“Please be advised that, in the event Facebook continues to provide accounts or services to Al-Aqsa TV, we intend to notify the appropriate governmental authorities of Facebook’s willful violation of US and Israeli law,” Darshan-Leitner wrote. “In addition, we reserve the right to pursue all legal avenues, including civil litigation, against Facebook on behalf of the victims of Hamas’ terrorist attacks.”

The letter comes on the same day that The New York Times released a bombshell investigation about Facebook claiming that Zuckerberg knew about Russian interference in his company months earlier than initially claimed.

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