Concern growing over Facebook Third Intifada page

By Jennifer Lipman, March 29, 2011
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg

The Community Security Trust (CST) and the Board of Deputies have added their names to the growing list of individuals and organisations calling for Facebook to ban a page deemed “a call to arms” for Palestinian terrorists.

The creators of the page are urging violent uprisings on May 15 or Nakba Day, the date on which Palestinians mourn the establishment of Israel.

The Facebook campaign, which also has a YouTube page, has attracted nearly 350,000 “likes” on the social networking site. A page demanding that Facebook should shut it down has been set up in response.

Last week Israel's Minister of Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, Yuli Edelstein, wrote to Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg demanding that the Arabic language page urging support for a “Third Palestinian Intifada” be removed.

The US-based Anti-Defamation League described the page as “an appalling abuse of technology to promote terrorist violence”.

Both the CST and the Board said they had received “scores of complaints” about the issue and pointed out that the increasing power of social media gave sites such as Facebook “serious responsibilities”.

Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board, said: “If those behind the call for intifada really had the welfare of Palestinians at heart, they would be calling for a peaceful solution, not more violence.

“This is effectively a call to arms, and Facebook should have no part in this kind of incitement.”

CST’s communications director Mark Gardner accused Facebook of “literally providing a global network calling for a further round of conflict between Palestinians and Israelis”.

He said: “One very likely consequence is that this will also incite a further round of conflict against anybody deemed to be a supporter of Israel, with antisemitic hatred and violence the inevitable outcomes.”

Facebook has agreed to monitor the page but refused to block it altogether. Debbie Frost, a spokeswoman for the company, said: “While some kinds of comments and content may be upsetting for someone -­ criticism of a certain culture, country, religion, lifestyle, or political ideology, for example - that alone is not a reason to remove the discussion.”

Last updated: 1:22pm, March 29 2011