Over the past few years, Shurat Hadin-Israel Law Center (SHILC) has received numerous complaints that Facebook is allegedly allowing pro-Palestinian groups to post hateful articles and comments against Israel and Jews.
SHILC is a legal civil-rights group based in Tel Aviv, Israel dedicated to fighting terrorism and protecting the rights of Jews around the world through legal means.
On December 28, 2015 it launched a social media experiment to find out if Facebook had a bias when it came to Israel.
Called “The Big Facebook Experiment,” the organization created two Facebook pages. It called one page “Stop Palestinians” and the second “Stop Israelis.”
Launched simultaneously, SHILC began to post essentially identical articles inciting hatred towards Palestinians on the “Stop Palestinians” page and hate messages against Israel on the “Stop Israelis” page.
Over the next couple of days, they posted similar articles, images and comments while slowly increasing vitriol against the two groups eventually culminating with posts calling for “Death to all Jews!” and “Death to all Arabs!” on the respective pages.
At the end of December, SHILC then sent in a complaint to Facebook about both pages complaining of hatred and violence.
According to SHILC, within hours of sending their complaints, Facebook pulled the page citing hatred towards Palestine. Facebook sent an email stating it had removed the Palestinian page because it contained a “credible threat of violence.”
However, the “Stop Israelis” page which mimicked the hate and violence of the “Stop Palestinian” page was untouched. Facebook sent an email stating the page did not violate Facebook’s rules.
The page remained live for several days.
According to an article on Algemeiner, Facebook only removed the page after Israeli media, such as the Jerusalem Post, caught wind of what was happening and began to publish articles questioning the double standard.
The media outlets even contacted Facebook asking for comment.
A couple days after these articles started appearing, Facebook deleted the page on Wednesday, January 6, 2016 saying it had made a mistake.
However, SHILC is not convinced. In its news release, Shurat Hadin said:
“Unfortunately we do not believe it was a simple ‘mistake’ as Israelis and Jews worldwide have been relentlessly protesting that Facebook is completely unresponsive to this type of Palestinian incitement to violence.”
This past October, the legal group announced it had launched a lawsuit against Facebook on behalf of 20,000 Jews alleging it has allowed pro-Palestinian groups to post articles inciting hatred against Israelis resulting in injury and death. None of these allegations have been proven in court.
- Facebook finally cave on anti-Israel hate pages: Algemeiner
- LAKIN V. FACEBOOK: Shurat Hadin-Israel Law Center
- When it comes to incitement, is Facebook biased against Israel?: Jerusalem Post
- Lead Photo: Stefans_Box/Flickr/Creative Commons
Depending on what is being said, there is that whole “freedom of speech” issue. As long as nobody is advocating violence, it is hard to choose one side over the other, especially if you are neither Jewish nor Palestinian. Both groups have suffered, and both believe they are right.