Israeli Minister Calls Facebook A 'Monster' Over Its Abusive Content Removal Policies
Gilad Erdan, Israel's Minister of Internal Security, called Facebook a "monster" in a television interview, accusing the social network and its founder Mark Zuckerberg of not doing enough to ban and remove abusive content on its platform.
The abusive content that Erdan is referring to is specifically the incitement of violence being posted on Facebook that has seen Palestinians carry out deadly attacks against Israelis, including the murder of a 13-year-old girl who was sleeping in her settlement home in the West Bank last week.
Since October of last year, Palestinian street attacks have led to the deaths of a total of 34 Israelis and two Americans. Israeli forces, meanwhile have killed no less than 201 Palestinians, with Israel claiming that 137 of those were attackers.
The widespread violence, according to the government of Israel, is being encouraged on Facebook, and so it has reached out to the social network to become more proactive in removing the hateful content from its platform. In fact, the government is currently drafting a law to order Facebook, along with other online social media platforms such as YouTube and Twitter, to remove content that is considered incitements of violence and terrorism.
Erdan, however, is obviously not pleased with how Facebook is applying its policies of removing abusive content on its platform. In the television interview, he called for Israeli citizens to flood Zuckerberg through every possible platform with demands to heighten the monitoring on the social network related to the violence.
The call is akin to the vandalism done by political activist Rotem Gez on Facebook's Israel headquarters in October of last year. Gez sprayed graffiti on the structure, with an image of a big red hand and the words "blood on our hands" and "Stop FB Terror," after the social network's refusal to delete offensive content.
Erdan went on to accuse Facebook of sabotaging the work of Israeli authorities, with the social network not being cooperative when approached by Israeli police. The minister added that Facebook has set a very high bar for the removal of inciteful posts and content.
According to Erdan, Facebook could have reported to the authorities the post that was uploaded on the social network by the murderer of the 13-year-old Israeli girl before he committed the crime, which could have prevented the death of the teenager.
In a statement, Facebook disputed the accusations and assessment of the minister, as the social network has procedures in place that flag inciteful content on its platform as soon as possible.
"We work regularly with safety organizations and policy makers around the world, including Israel, to ensure that people know how to make a safe use of Facebook," the social network said, adding that the platform has no room for content which promotes terrorism and violence through threats and hate speeches.