Israel meets Facebook officials over incitement complaints

2016-09-12 19:08

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Jerusalem — The Israeli government and Facebook have agreed to work together to determine how to tackle incitement on the social media network, a senior Israeli Cabinet minister said on Monday.

The announcement came after two government ministers met top Facebook officials to discuss the matter. The Facebook delegation is in Israel as the government pushes ahead with legislative steps meant to force social networks to rein in content that Israel says incites violence.

Israel has argued that a wave of violence with the Palestinians over the past year has been fuelled by incitement, much of it spread on social media sites. It has repeatedly said that Facebook should do more to monitor and control the content, raising a host of legal and ethical issues over whether the company is responsible for material posted by its users.

Both Interior Minister Gilad Erdan and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, two key figures in Israel's battle against the alleged online provocations, participated in Monday's meeting.

The interior minister's office said they agreed with Facebook representatives to create teams that would figure out how best to monitor and remove inflammatory content, but did not elaborate further.

Erdan and Shaked have proposed legislation that seeks to force social networks to remove content Israel that considers to be incitement. An opposition lawmaker has also proposed a bill seeking to force social networks to self-monitor or face a fine. It was not clear whether Monday's agreement would lead the lawmakers to shelve their bills.

In a statement, Facebook said "online extremism can only be tackled with a strong partnership between policymakers, civil society, academia and companies, and this is true in Israel and around the world".

The social media company also said its community standards "make it clear there is no place for terrorists or content that promotes terrorism on Facebook". It called the meeting "constructive," but offered no details about its conclusions.

Israeli security authorities currently monitor for incitement, and then complain to Facebook. The company then determines whether the material in question violates its community standards, removing some items but allowing others to stay.

Shaked said on Monday that over the past four months Israel submitted 158 requests to Facebook to remove inciting content and another 13 requests to YouTube. She said Facebook granted about 95% of the requests and YouTube granted 80%.

"We know that the amount of inciting online is even greater so we have to continue and increase our efforts, and we will," she said at a security conference. "An inciting page is a perpetual growth engine for terror if it is not removed."

The Palestinians dismiss the Israeli allegations that the violence is caused by incitement. They say it is the result of nearly 50 years of Israeli military occupation and a lack of hope for gaining independence.

Digital rights groups have charged that such legislation is unlikely to be enforceable and say the laws are used as a pressure tactic to prompt Facebook to monitor users' content. The groups warn of a slippery slope to censorship.

Read more on:    facebook  |  israel  |  social media

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.