Israeli minister's social network regulation committee underway

The committee, headed by Communication Ministry director-general Liran Avishar Ben-Horin, was given 90 days to submit its interim conclusions to Communications Minister Hendel.

 BROKEN ETHERNET CABLES are seen in front of Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger logos in an illustrative photo taken this week.  (photo credit: DADO RUVIC/REUTERS)
BROKEN ETHERNET CABLES are seen in front of Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger logos in an illustrative photo taken this week.
(photo credit: DADO RUVIC/REUTERS)

The committee to examine possible regulation of social media activities was convened for the first time by Communication Minister Yoaz Hendel on Thursday.

The establishment of the committee, headed by the Communication Ministry director-general Liran Avishar Ben-Horin, was announced by Hendel earlier in October. The committee also includes Dr. Micha Goodman, an Israeli author whose latest Hebrew book discusses the risks of social media, and Justice Ministry director-general Eran Davidi.

The committee will formulate the regulation in correspondence with July's Broadcasting Supervisory Committee, known as the "Volkman Committee," whose recommendations were adopted by Hendel in September.

It will issue recommendations for the effective regulation of digital content on social networks while examining and comparing the effectiveness of existing regulations in different countries across the globe. In addition, it will examine the responsibility of social media companies in relation to the policy of editing and control of their content.

The companies' transparency on the filtration, promotion and removal of specific content will also be investigated.

 Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel (center) speaking in the social media regulation committee on October 28, 2021 (credit: Courtesy) Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel (center) speaking in the social media regulation committee on October 28, 2021 (credit: Courtesy)

The committee was given 90 days to submit its interim conclusions to Hendel, who called the establishment of the committee a sign the Israeli government is looking to "make a change."

"Social networks and digital platforms have brought a lot of blessings to the world but there are problematic issues that have not yet been resolved," Hendel said. "Israel, as a leading tech country can be a pioneer in this field," the communications minister added.

Ben-Horin, the committee head, said the committee will "delve deeper into what is best for the public in an area the state was not involved in until now."

"Over the last decade, we have become increasingly dependent on Internet giants who hold infinite information about our private lives," Ben-Horin said. "It is understood both in Israel and all over the world that there is room to examine regulation to protect the public from possible dangers."