Senior Facebook Officials Visit Israel to Discuss Social Media ‘Incitement’

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

A delegation of senior Facebook officials has arrived in Israel for a series of meetings with government representatives and civil servants to discuss the issue of incitement on Facebook, The Times of Israel reported on Sunday.

Monika Bickert, Facebook’s head of product policy and counter-terrorism, and Joel Kaplan, vice president of Global Public as well as a former deputy chief of staff for policy at the White House, are heading the delegation, according to the report.

Israeli officials have slammed Facebook for allowing online incitement that they claim leads to terror activities.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the Facebook delegation’s visit to Israel at the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.

“The aim is to increase cooperation against incitement, incitement to terror and murder on social networks,” he said, according to The Times of Israel. “Terror groups use the internet to hurt humanity. We are determined to fight this phenomenon so I welcome this cooperation, or at least the willingness to cooperate, that Facebook is demonstrating which we hope will yield better results.”

Facebook has come under increasing pressure from Israeli politicians and officials for the type of content it allows on its platform.

Israel’s justice and internal security ministers recently announced plans to propose legislation banning the use of Facebook to advance “terror” and outlawing incitement from the Internet.

Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked, and Internal Security Minister, Gilad Erdan, said they instructed their respective ministries and the police to draft a new bill for removing terror content from the internet and social media.

Shaked and Erdan said the legislation would aim to make it illegal to publish “offensive content” such as “encouraging terror attacks, shaming, insulting public officials and slandering”.

The principles of the bill would be that the state would issue a warning letter to internet, domain name and social media providers who can potentially remove the content as site administrators.

If the providers, such as such as Facebook and Google, remove the terror content there would be no further action.

If they do not remove the content, the bill would allow the state to request the courts to order the providers to remove the content within 24 hours, as Facebook does in the European Union, said the statement. This would be backed by a law that blocks content inciting “terror” and ensures its “complete removal”.

Israel maintains that online content has played a significant role in fueling the latest Palestinian intifada that broke out in October 2015.

(Middle East Rising, PC)

(The Palestine Chronicle is a registered 501(c)3 organization, thus, all donations are tax deductible.)
Our Vision For Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders & Intellectuals Speak Out