Israeli NGO reveals: Facebook discriminates against Israelis

January 5, 2016  

The non-profit Shurat Hadin-The Israel Law Center organization has conducted an investigation which proves unequivocally that Facebook discriminates against Israelis.

The investigation included an experiment in which two fictitious Facebook pages were set up, with one inciting against the Palestinians and the other inciting against Jews and Israelis. But after complaints were filed with Facebook over the contents of the two pages, Facebook only shut down the page which incited against the Palestinians, claiming it violates Facebook’s terms of service. In contrast, the page inciting against Israel remains open and active and, in the eyes of Facebook, is not in violation of the social network’s terms of service.

The two Facebook pages, “Stop Palestinians” and “Stop Israelis”, were opened by members of Shurat Hadin on December 28, 2015, the group said in a statement Monday. The next day, on December 29, posts with similar content began to appear on both pages simultaneously.

For example, the page inciting against Israelis had a post which read, “The Zionists eat away parts of the country piece by piece, and the world remains silent. We will stop them any way we can.” The other page posted identical content, only with the title, “The whole of Israel will soon return to the control of Jews from the hands of the Muslim enemy. We will stop them any way we can.”

The investigation continued and new identical posts appeared on both pages, with the level of incitement rising with each post.

One example is a cartoon depicting a crocodile simulating the “violent” state of Israel planning to “swallow” the Temple Mount, with only a Palestinian knife in its mouth preventing it from closing its jaws. The title above the cartoon said, “Vengeance against the Zionist enemy that threatens the Temple Mount. Death to the Jews”. On the other page, photos were posted of anti-Arab graffiti with slogans such as, “Revenge”, “Revenge against the Arabs”, etc., under the heading “Revenge against the Arab enemies. Death to all Arabs”.

On December 30, 2015, two days after the start of the investigation, it was decided to report the contents of the two inciting pages to Facebook. In all the complaints to Facebook, the social network was asked to remove the pages because they are abusive and hateful towards a specific race or ethnic origin.

The results were not long in coming and Facebook’s management worked quickly indeed. That same day, Facebook shut down the page which incites against the Palestinians, and even thanked the complainants for the report. Members of Shurat Hadin who ran the page received a message from Facebook which said the page had been taken offline because it published abusive, threatening and violent content which “violates Facebook’s community standards”.

At the same time, however, the anti-Israel page was not shut down by Facebook, despite the fact that all the content on this page was identical to the anti-Palestinian page. In this case, Facebook’s management sent the opposite message, indicating that the page did not violate the social network’s terms of service.

Shurat Hadin said in its statement that it would use the results of this investigation in its recently filed lawsuit against Facebook in a New York court, in which the organization alleges the social network allowed jihadists to openly recruit and train terrorists and plan terror attacks on its pages.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, head of Shurat Hadin, said, “Facebook’s management is required to act immediately against the blatant incitement being waged for years against Jews and Israelis in the social network it owns and manages. The in-depth investigation we conducted proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that [Facebook’s] claims of equality in the face of its conduct against any individual or group of people are at best erroneous and false in the worst case.”

“It cannot be that in 2015 a publicly traded commercial company will carry out a racist policy which so blatantly discriminates in favor of any party. The investigation we conducted proves that indeed there is bias in favor of one political party and against Israelis and Jews in particular. Jews and Israelis around the world should be very concerned over the results of the investigation and understand that the most famous social network in the world is working actively in favor of the Palestinians,” she added.

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