Monday, January 25, 2016

When Will Facebook's Zuckerberg Apply His Pro-Muslim Statement To Jews?

On December 9, 2015, Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg posted on the need for Muslims to feel welcome on Facebook:
I want to add my voice in support of Muslims in our community and around the world.

After the Paris attacks and hate this week, I can only imagine the fear Muslims feel that they will be persecuted for the actions of others.

As a Jew, my parents taught me that we must stand up against attacks on all communities. Even if an attack isn't against you today, in time attacks on freedom for anyone will hurt everyone.

If you're a Muslim in this community, as the leader of Facebook I want you to know that you are always welcome here and that we will fight to protect your rights and create a peaceful and safe environment for you.

Having a child has given us so much hope, but the hate of some can make it easy to succumb to cynicism. We must not lose hope. As long as we stand together and see the good in each other, we can build a better world for all people.
It is hard to argue with Zuckerberg's sentiments -- but his double standard is an issue.

It is all well and good for him to declare that Muslims "are always welcome here and that we will fight to protect your rights and create a peaceful and safe environment for you."

The question is: why don't Facebook in general and Zuckerberg in particular feel the same way about protecting the rights of Jews and creating "a peaceful and safe environment" for them?

Just how peaceful and safe an environment can Facebook be when there is a community dedicated to propagating the blood libel of "Jewish Ritual Murder"?

Why does Facebook propagate the blood libel of "Jewish Ritual Murder"? Credit: snapshot

This is more than just an issue of free speech. Shurat Ha-Din recently revealed that Facebook's double standard when it comes to Muslims also applies to the Israeli-Arab conflict:

In covering the experiment, Arutz Sheva reported that Facebook discriminates against Israelis:
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.

...[After Shurat Ha-Din reported both pages] 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.
While Facebook eventually took down the anti-Israel page as well, there are indications of Facebook's attempts to avoid facing the issue of balance head-on by resorting to deception:
Here’s what’s going on. A number of years ago people reported a page on Facebook called “Jewish Ritual Murder”. It was also know as “The Truth About Jews”. It consistently ran the classical old blood libel that Jews, ordered by their Torah, kill non-Jews (especially children) and use their blood for various invented rituals.

Well this Facebook community did appear to go away. Certainly if you’re in Australia or in Israel, you can’t see their page. But if you’re in most of the Arab world you can. So how is this deception by Facebook helping anyone, when the people most likely to be incited to go out and stab a Jew can still see the lies, while those most likely to report it can’t see it? I don’t know.

Certainly there is no perfect solution -- see Israel seeks international support to force social media giants to be more responsible for a new attempt at a solution.

But as long as Facebook hosts a community that propagates blood libels against Jews, Zuckerberg's promises of a peaceful and safe environment for Muslims will continue to come across as hypocrisy.

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