Shaked: Facebook, Twitter removing 70% of ‘harmful’ posts
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Shaked: Facebook, Twitter removing 70% of ‘harmful’ posts

Social media giants clamping down on incitement to violence in Israel, says justice minister

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked at the Budapest Bar Association in front of a memorial wall carrying the names of Jewish lawyers from the city who were murdered during the Holocaust, June 6, 2016 (via Facebook)
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked at the Budapest Bar Association in front of a memorial wall carrying the names of Jewish lawyers from the city who were murdered during the Holocaust, June 6, 2016 (via Facebook)

Facebook, Twitter and Google are removing some 70 percent of harmful content from social media in Israel, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said Monday.

Speaking at a press conference in Hungary, Shaked said the social media giants were working to remove materials that incite to violence or murder, the Ynet news website reported.

Shaked was attending a conference in Hungary on combating incitement and anti-Semitism on the Internet.

In a post on her Facebook page, she said: “The Hungarian Justice Minister said correctly that verbal incitement can lead to physical harm and that he is committed to the war on incitement. Anti-Semitic internet sites in Hungary have already attacked him for the existence of the conference.

“A joining of forces by justice ministers from all over the world against incitement and our joint work vis a vis the internet companies will lead to change.

“Already now, the Israeli Justice Ministry is managing to remove pages, posts and inciteful sites by working with Facebook and Google.”

Social media first came to the fore as a key tool for avoiding state-operated media organs and for communicating, particularly for the young, during the so-called Arab Spring, the wave of protests that swept the Arab world between 2010 and 2012.

More recently, and for similar reasons, it has become the preferred medium through which terror groups try to communicate their messages and recruit new members.

From right: Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, State Attorney Shai Nitzan and Deputy Attorney General Raz Nizri visit the Great Synagogue in Budapest before the start of a conference about combating incitement on the Internet, June 4, 2016, Facebook
From right: Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, State Attorney Shai Nitzan and Deputy Attorney General Raz Nizri visit the Great Synagogue in Budapest before the start of a conference about combating incitement on the Internet, June 4, 2016, Facebook

Palestinian social media has played a major role in the radicalization of young Palestinians during the current wave of violence against Israelis, which began in October.

In one recent example of a crackdown on internet incitement, Twitter closed dozens of accounts held by members of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military arm of Hamas.

In response, the Brigades’ spokesman, who goes by the nom de guerre Abu Obeida, vowed: “We are going to send our message in a lot of innovative ways, and we will insist on every available means of social media to get to the hearts and minds of millions.”

A caricature by Hasan Abadi encourages Palestinians to stab Israeli soldiers [Facebook image]
A caricature by Hasan Abadi encourages Palestinians to stab Israeli soldiers [Facebook image]

The terror group uses its social media accounts to publish internal news about the organization, such as when its members die in training accidents, and also to call for and praise attacks against Israeli civilians.

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