Shurat haDin — Israel Law Center finally demonstrated what Jewish Facebook users have felt anecdotally, that Facebooks’s dread of catering to Islamophobia has them underenforcing their own rules of appopriate content when posted by an Arab or Muslim group. They are thereby enabling the incitement to kill our people, our friends and/or family in Israel. Protection they are extending in the reverse. Yes, response to reported posts does go through a human being. It’s not an algorithm based on popularity or number of complaints. (See their FAQ “What Happens After You Click ‘Report’” here.) There is no blind filter to talk about. It’s an issue of company policy and training and of employee training.
(See below the line for an explanation, if you haven’t encountered the news coverage of the story. I also added other thoughts at the bottom.)
I think the only way to change things is if Christian Zionists and Jews boycott Facebook. Then moderation policy will change.
It’s a simple decision: Are we members of the Jewish People, or are we social media addicts?
It is not like Facebook provides some critical service, like OPEC does. We can live with Instigram, Twitter, and perhaps less time spent on social media isn’t a bad thing in-and-of itself. ((The one line in this post that fits this blog’s typical motif.))
And it’s it’s not “just” Israel getting hurt. The same phenomenon is why Facebook hasn’t yet been able to stop ISIS, Boko Haram, al Qaeda or other Islamist terror from using their soapbox to incite violence.
Please spread far and wide.
Please link to this post on your Facebook wall, tag all your friends, and give them your new contact information.
Shurat haDin performed an experiment on Facebook. Likely related to their lawsuit against Facebook “Lankin v. Facebook”, on behalf of some 20,000 Israelis. (Description here.) They want to stop Facebook from allowing Palestinians incite violent attacks against Israelis and Jews. (This is the same Facebook that the ADL launched a multi-month campaign against to get them to ban a page promoting the Blood Libel, see here.)
They summarized their experiment on YouTube (here). A partial transcript:
On 28.12.15, we opened 2 identical inciting Facebook pages with only one difference between them. One was against Palestinians. And the other was against Jews. On 29.12.15, we began to simultaneously upload identical inciting posts and videos on both pages.
“The Zionist bite palestine part after part and the world is silence. we’ll stop them any way we can.” / “Greater land israel should return soon from the hands of the muslim enemy back to jewish sovereignty! we’ll do it in any way we can.”
We uploaded 2 more inciting posts. “Today more than ever the zionist army uses violence against palestinian kids. these children will liberate palestine with blood and fire and demolish the zionist invaders!” / “More and more soldiers in the israeli army knows that there is a need to destroy the arab enemy. We are ready for war against the enemy!”
We increased the incitement level on the next posts. “Revenge against the zionist enemy that threatens Al Aqsa! Death to all the jews!” / “Revenge against the arab enemy. Death to all the arabs.”
We continued uploading some inciting posts, against Jews as well as against Palestinians. “This is how we want to see all the Jews. Death to Israel!!” / “This is how we want to see all the Palestinians. Death to Palestine!!”
Then, we simultaneously reported both pages to Facebook.
On the same day, the page inciting against Palestinians was closed by Facebook. Facebook wrote us the following message: “we received the page you reported for containing credible threat of violence and found it violates our Community Standards.”
The page inciting against Jews was not closed. Even though the page was identical to the page against Palestinians, we received a message from Facebook saying the page is not in violation of Facebook’s rules.
From 2 identical inciting pages, only the one inciting against Palestinians was closed by Facebook.
The page inciting against Jews is still open today.
This demonstration is being repeated a number of times to turn it into a statistically significant experiment.
But until then… If one Googles for anti-Arab Facebook bias, or anti-Muslim, or anti-Palestinian, or searches for complaints about Zionist, Israeli, Jewish groups or pages that they won’t take down, there is a scarcity of complaints. All you get is reportage of the above phenomenon — anti-Israel groups, pages and posts that remain up. And it’s not like there is any shortage of people speaking up about signs of anti-Muslim or anti-Arab sentiment.
This is the same Facebook that the ADL unsuccessfully fought for the first part of 2014 because they refused to take down a group that spreads the Blood Libel, unwilling to apply a rule against “ignorant and untrue material about people and events”. (See Abe Foxman’s article in CNet, here.) As well as the one that denied requests to take down groups and pages that promoted the “Knife Intifadeh”, to the point that Facebook’s Tel Aviv’s offices were eventually vandalized with red painted hand-prints and the words “blood on our hands” and stop FB terror (story here). Since rioting had no effect (and in a real sense, it shouldn’t), the pages stayed up and that’s when Shuras haDin launched their suit.
It’s simply that our impressions from experience are true, and this experiment will be confirmed by repetition.
Facebook is so busy trying to make sure Muslims and Arabs don’t feel hated, they are playing a small but still real role in getting us killed.
We can play a small, but if enough of us participate still real role in getting them to stop.