Zuckerberg’s ‘reply’ to minister: a hoax

July 4, 2016  

Daily newspaper Maariv reported Monday morning that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had posted a response to Minister of Internal Security, Gilad Erdan, who accused Facebook of partial responsibility for Palestinian terrorism.

Erdan had said in a weekend interview that Facebook allows incitement to terrorism to be posted online, and that these posts and videos create a terrorist atmosphere and often push young Arabs to carry out attacks.

In the alleged response, Zuckerberg said he was “saddened” by the fact that Erdan had resorted to “shaming” him.

However, no such statement was ever posted by Zuckerberg; it turned out that Maariv had fallen for a joke.

Israeli web-cynics, many of whom tend to look own on Likud’s ministers and their intellectual capabilities, had a field day with Erdan’s statement, and portrayed it as a silly attempt to shift blame on Facebook, by a witless minister from the right wing. One such cynic, a social media manager named Raz Tsipris with a large Facebook following, decided to have some more fun with the story and fabricated a screenshot of a post in which Zuckerberg supposedly replies to Erdan.

The phrasing of the fake Zuckerberg post was taken from another well known post by a former right-wing politician, ex MK Yinon Magal (Jewish Home). Earlier this year, Magal responded to accusations of improper behavior by a former co-worker by saying he was sorry she had chosen the option of “shaming” him over speaking to him directly. Magal eventually resigned when additional accusations began to be leveled at him.

Tsipris purposely mistranslated Magal’s statement into English – using the word “counties” improperly – in order to create a comical effect. This did not however prevent Maariv from buying the fake post, hook, line and sinker.

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