Wednesday, April 14th | 2 Iyyar 5781

January 11, 2016 7:23 am

Facebook Is Safe for Muslims, But Not Jews

avatar by Judith Bergman

An anti-Israel cartoon circulated on Facebook.

An anti-Israel cartoon circulated on Facebook.

Facebook is brimming with pages that spew hatred of Israel and Jews. One of those countless pages was created in 2012 and even though it has been taken down a number of times for violating Facebook’s “community standards” after protests from Jewish and pro-Israel activists, it keeps popping back up. The name of that page is “Jewish Ritual Murder,” ironically, propagating the oldest antisemitic libel in history.

Facebook’s community standards decree that the social network wants people to feel safe when using Facebook. According to the guidelines, Facebook removes hate speech, which includes content that directly attacks people based on, among other things, race, ethnicity, national origin and religious affiliation. “Organizations and people dedicated to promoting hatred against these protected groups are not allowed a presence on Facebook. As with all of our standards, we rely on our community to report this content to us” the standards say.

Evidently, that does not apply to Jews.

Shurat HaDin – the Israel Law Center, decided to prove just how discriminatory the actual application of these community standards is and how Facebook indeed allows for incitement against Israelis and Jews. Shurat HaDin set up two fictitious Facebook pages. One incited against Palestinians and Arabs, the other against Israelis and Jews. Aside from the targets of incitement, all the content on the anti-Israeli page was essentially identical to the anti-Palestinian page.

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After Shurat HaDin filed separate complaints with Facebook over the content of those pages, Facebook decided to only shut one of them down — the page inciting against Palestinians, which, it said, violated its policy. Facebook worked extremely quickly and shut the page down the very same day the complaint was filed and thanked Shurat HaDin for reporting a page that published “abusive, threatening and violent content.”

In contrast, the page inciting against Israelis was not shut down. It remained active for every Jew-hater out there to see and be inspired by, since Facebook did not consider it to be in violation of its Community Standards. However, after massive protests from social media users and coverage in the Hebrew press, Facebook finally removed the anti-Israel page — six full days after taking the anti-Palestinian page down.

Shurat HaDin founder and president Nitsana Darshan-Leitner told The Algemeiner last Tuesday that Facebook suddenly said the page in question did, indeed, “violate community standards.” By this time, however Darshan-Leitner said, “The anti-Israel page had garnered 700,000 views, 30,000 shares and hundreds of thousands of likes.”

Interestingly, and given the fact that Palestinians are hunting down Jews in Israel with knives, bullets, cars and stones — whereas the opposite is not the case – Facebook’s community standards actually state: “We carefully review reports of threatening language to identify serious threats of harm to public and personal safety. We remove credible threats of physical harm to individuals. … We may consider things like a person’s physical location or public visibility in determining whether a threat is credible. We may assume credibility of any threats to people living in violent and unstable regions.”

Except for those regions where Jews live, of course — such as Israel.

Shurat HaDin said it would use the results of this investigation in its recently filed lawsuit against Facebook on behalf of some 20,000 Israelis to stop allowing Palestinian terrorists to use the social network to incite violent attacks against them and Jews. The complaint seeks an injunction against Facebook requiring it to monitor incitement and to respond immediately to complaints about inciting content, especially since — as Shurat HaDin said when it filed the lawsuit in October — “Facebook actively assists the inciters to find people who are interested in acting on their hateful messages by offering friend, group and event suggestions and targeting advertising based on people’s online ‘likes’ and Internet browsing history.”

Darshan-Leitner further said: “Facebook’s management is required to act immediately against the blatant incitement being waged for years against Jews and Israelis in the social network it owns and manages. The in-depth investigation we conducted proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that [Facebook’s] claims of equality in the face of its conduct against any individual or group of people are at best erroneous and false in the worst case.”

“It cannot be that in 2015 a publicly traded commercial company will carry out a racist policy which so blatantly discriminates in favor of any party. The investigation we conducted proves that indeed there is bias in favor of one political party and against Israelis and Jews in particular. Jews and Israelis around the world should be very concerned over the results of the investigation and understand that the most famous social network in the world is working actively in favor of the Palestinians.”

Shurat HaDin’s experiment puts into the right perspective Mark Zuckerberg’s statement in December, when he said that he wanted to add his “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.”

Turns out that Zuckerberg really meant what he said. Shurat HaDin has provided the ultimate proof that Facebook is indeed a safe space for Muslims — and a dangerous place for Israelis and Jews.

Judith Bergman is a writer and political analyst living in Israel.

This article was originally published by Israel Hayom. 

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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