Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Facebook Removes Page Promoting "Third Palestinian Intifada"...

Every few months Facebook draws scrutiny again for controversial content posted by its users. This time, a Facebook group was formed called the "Third Palestinian Intifada". The page, which had attracted more than 340,000 fans, called for Palestinians to take to the streets after Friday prayers on May 15th against Israel's Jewish population. The page explicitly said, "Judgment Day will be brought upon us only once the Muslims have killed all of the Jews".

Regardless of your politics, such statements clearly violate Facebook's Terms of Service agreement, which expressly forbids any direct calls to violence.

And yet, despite complaints by users and opposing Facebook groups being formed, which undeniably must have brought ample awareness of the issue to the company's employees, the page lingered on and was able to gather more fans.

It wasn't until formal institutional groups like the Anti-Defamation League got involved, and Israeli Minister Yuli Edelstein wrote a direct letter to Mark Zuckerberg, that Facebook finally decided to remove the Third Intifada page.

As a spokesman finally explained...

We continue to believe that people on Facebook should be able to express their opinions, and we don’t typically take down content that speaks out against countries, religions, political entities, or ideas... [however] the social network would continue to take down pages that issue "direct calls for violence or expressions of hate."

It's not really surprising anymore to see this type of material posted on social networking sites. Most people just accept it as an inevitable consequence of the digital world we live in. But what is still discouraging is how Facebook always seems to drag its feet when it comes to removing such content.

Why should it take large institutions getting involved to generate any action?


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