Controversial Israeli ‘Facebook Bill’ One Step Closer to Becoming Law

Facebook has been under pressure from Israel for the type of content Israel finds objectionable. (Photo: via Middle East Rising)

Israel’s Knesset passed the controversial “Facebook bill” – which would allow Israeli officials to force the social media giant to remove certain content through a court order if there are suspicions of “incitement” – through its first reading today.

According to Ynet, the bill passed its first reading, and will be followed by a second and third reading to determine if the bill is to become official Israeli legislation.

According to Israeli media outlet the Times of Israel, the bill, proposed by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked would “only be invoked in cases of suspected incitement, where there is a real possibility that the material in question endangers the public or national security.”

Despite Facebook complying with 95 per cent of the Israeli government’s removal requests in recent months, some members of the Knesset have expressed indignation that Facebook has not taken enough action to remove content inciting “acts of terror against Jews”.

Erdan defended the bill’s application to Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank, using the Israeli term “Judea and Samaria”, and underscored his concerns that Facebook did not recognize Israeli military control over the Palestinian territory.

“If someone writes something problematic and they live in Judea and Samaria, [Facebook] won’t cooperate with us and they say it’s outside of Israel and therefore they can’t cooperate,” the Times of Israel reported Erdan saying.

In recent months, Israel has detained scores of Palestinians for social media activity, alleging that a wave of unrest that first swept the occupied Palestinian territory in October 2015 was encouraged largely by “incitement.” The violence has left 246 Palestinians killed by Israelis, as well as some 34 Israelis killed by Palestinians.

Israel has responded to the perceived threat of social media incitement by blaming Facebook for not doing more to censor posts promoting “terrorism” against Israelis.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

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