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Facebook, Twitter Cave In to Israeli Government Demands

The Israeli Ministry of Justice announced this week that following its demands, Facebook and Twitter have removed thousands of pages, groups, posts and accounts with pro-Palestinian content from their sites.

“We succeeded to achieve our goals as around 70 per cent of our demands were fulfilled,” Israeli Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked said to Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth.

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Shaked then justified the decision by claiming “there is a direct relationship between internet incitement and violence in Israel ... we succeeded to delete incitement contents calling for death and violence across the internet.”

Facebook and Twitter already have a number of mechanisms to report offensive content, but it seems that much of what is taken down can be one-sided, particularly when governments put pressure on social media sites.

“It is not uncommon for Israel to use social media and freedom of expression as a means of controlling viewpoints from being expressed globally,” the Palestine Chronicle wrote.

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In June 2014, Shaked was condemned following a Facebook post of an article by Israeli writer, Uri Elitzer, that justified the collective punishment of Palestinians. The post, which has since been deleted, said that Palestinian mothers give birth to “little snakes.”

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Israel was recently called out by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights for a number of actions that may constitute collective punishment of Palestinians. Israel has punished Palestinians by bombing and killing civilians, demolishing homes, preventing free movement of Palestinians as well as arbitrary detentions without trial.

Social media is a powerful tool for spreading information and the censorships by Israel raise a number of questions regarding free speech and the limits of what powerful government´s can control on the internet.

Last modified onSaturday, 11 June 2016 23:07

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