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Facebook and Israel clash over censorship issues

Facebook has reaffirmed that the social network is doing its part to remove abusive content found on its site, which is a direct rejection of allegations made by Israel that the company has been uncooperative in removing content that could lead to more violence in Palestine.

For the past 10 months, there has been a spate of Palestinian street attacks. Israel believes there is a connection between the recent increase in attacks and posts on Facebook and other social networks. Currently, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party is drafting legislation that would give the government the power to order social networks to remove any posts it finds threatening or dangerous.

On Saturday, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan added fuel to the fire by accusing Facebook of "sabotaging" Israeli police efforts by not aiding the authorities by providing information regrading potential suspects in the occupied West Bank. He also believes that the social network has “set a very high bar for removing inciteful content and posts.”

Although Facebook failed to directly respond to Erdan's comments, the company did release a statement saying: “We work regularly with safety organisations and policymakers around the world, including Israel to ensure that people know how to make safe use of Facebook. There is no room for content that promotes violence, direct threats, terrorist or hate speeches on our platform.”

“We have a set of community standards designed to help people understand what's allowed on Facebook, and we call on people to use our report if they find content they believe violates these rules, so that we can examine each case and take quick action”

Erdan however was not satisfied with Facebook's statement and urged Israelis to “flood” the company's founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg with demands for a change in the site's policy. The social network will likely not back down as removing posts could be seen as an attempt to limit free speech and open communication.

Photo Credit: Endermasali / Shutterstock

Anthony Spadafora
After living and working in South Korea for seven years, Anthony now resides in Houston, Texas where he writes about a variety of technology topics for ITProPortal.