Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Facebook: Attacking Israel Is Not The Same As Attacking Israelis (Updated)

The Canadian Jewish News has an article on the exploits of the Jewish Internet Defense Force (JIDF) in combating Anti-Semitic groups on Facebook. JIDF defends the actions it has taken to take over such groups and delete members based on the lack of cooperation it has received from Facebook in dealing with the issue.

CJN compares what JIDF found with what they themselves found on Facebook:

JIDF claims that clients on Facebook, a social networking website, spread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, demonizes Zionists, praises attacks on Israeli or Jewish civilians, promotes violence, hatred and Islamic jihadist propaganda, recruits people to Islamic terrorist organizations and supports white supremacy and Nazi groups.

Scanning the pages highlighted by the JIDF revealed in short order the offering of the Protocols of Zion, a notorious anti-Semitic forgery that alleged Jews controlled governments and media, on the Eliminate Israel Facebook page.

So, what does Facebook have to say for itself?
A Facebook spokesperson responded to queries from the CJN with an e-mail that stated, “Facebook carefully reviews the notices we receive regarding groups that may violate our Terms of Use (ToU). In this particular case, the ‘How Many People Hate Israel’ group [one of four The CJN asked Facebook to comment on] does not violate our ToU, because the group attacks Israel and Zionism, not Israelis or Jews. As stated in our ToU, we make a clear distinction between countries or ideas and people: groups that express views on a particular country or idea are permitted, while groups that explicitly threaten people are regarded as a violation of our ToU and are subsequently taken down. Our ToU also stipulate that we do not allow recognized terrorist organizations on the site.” [emphasis added]
The spokesperson hedges a bit there, contrasting groups that express views on Israel as opposed to explicitly threaten Israelis. So apparently explicitly threatening Israel is OK?

And just what qualifies as explicitly threatening Israelis and Jews? Apparently not this, found by CJN:
A posting by a member of the “Israel is not a country” page advocated another Holocaust: “wat do u think only arabs will come 2 bust ur ass? i guess u all r mistaken cuz time will come not only the arabs the whole muslim world will come 2 bust ur ass and each and every jew will be eradicated from the surface of the earth and that day will be the day off armageddon [sic].”
Will Facebook not act unless the Jews are mentioned by name?

According to the Facebook Terms of Service, users agree not to:
upload, post, transmit, share, store or otherwise make available any content that we deem to be harmful, threatening, unlawful, defamatory, infringing, abusive, inflammatory, harassing, vulgar, obscene, fraudulent, invasive of privacy or publicity rights, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable.
No distinction is made on whether the defamatory content is directed towards countries or merely their citizens--until Facebook decided to create one.

No wonder such hate groups have found a home there.

Update: Just wondering...If a person/group on Facebook threatens a country, it is not an issue--until they threaten people. How about if a country threatens another country: if Ahmadinejad opens an account on Facebook and creates a group dedicating to wiping Israel off the face of the earth--does that violate Facebook's TOS?

Or would Ahmadinejad find himself quite at home on Facebook?

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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