Is­raelis sue Face­book ‘ter­ror hub’

The Jewish Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BY NATHAN JEF­FAY

A GROUP of 20,000 Is­raelis is su­ing Face­book for fail­ing to clamp down on on­line in­cite­ment by Pales­tinian ex­trem­ists, in a case that could have a pro­found im­pact on the way the so­cial net­work operates.

“Face­book is fan­ning the flames of the cur­rent Pales­tinian in­tifada,” said the group’s lawyer, Tel Aviv-based Nit­sana Dar­shan-Leit­ner, af­ter she filed the law­suit with the New York State Court this week.

She claimed that the so­cial net­work had failed to ad­e­quately mon­i­tor or block Pales­tinian posts that en­cour­age vi­o­lence and ac­cused it of “an out­ra­geous aban­don­ment of its obli­ga­tions to the pub­lic”. As a re­sult, Face­book is cur­rently a “hub of ter­ror,” she said.

Ms Dar­shan-Leit­ner di­rects Shu­rat Hadin, an Is­raeli le­gal ad­vo­cacy group. Her 20,000 clients are de­mand­ing an in­junc­tion against Face­book that will re­quire it to mon­i­tor it­self and block “all racist in­cite­ment and calls for vi­o­lence against Jews in Is­rael.” They are not ask­ing for any money.

Just a day af­ter the suit was filed, the bat­tle be­came even more emo­tive. The lead plain­tiff, in­jured in a ter­ror­ist at­tack, died, and his son ac­cused Face­book of pro­vid­ing a plat­form for in­cite­ment.

“It can­not be that the world’s most pow­er­ful so­cial net­work, whose in­flu­ence is prob­a­bly greater than that of heads of state… al­lows ter­ror­ists to call for the mur­der of in­no­cent Jews,” Micha Lakin, the son of Richard Lakin, told Is­rael’s Chan­nel 2. He added: “He died as a re­sult of the same ha­tred he fought against his en­tire life.”

Richard Lakin, a 76-year-old teacher, orig­i­nally from Amer­ica, died on Tues­day, a fort­night af­ter be­ing shot in the head and stabbed in the chest dur­ing a ter­ror­ist at­tack on a Jerusalem bus.

Ms Dar­shan-Leit­ner said that what is needed is a change in mind­set at Face­book. She ar­gued that it is not enough for the com­pany to delete posts only when it de­cides to up­hold a com­plaint, and added that Face­book had the tech­nol­ogy to mon­i­tor what is up­loaded.

If Ms Dar­shan-Leit­ner wins the case, it is ex­pected that Face­book will come un­der pres­sure to be more cau­tious over what con­tent it per­mits. Face­book re­fused to com­ment.

PHOTO: YOUTUBE

Dar­shan-Leit­ner

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