By Whitney Webb
Following Facebook’s censorship controversy
over a world famous photograph of the Vietnam War, Facebook has agreed
to “work together” with Israel’s government to censor content Israeli
officials deem to be improper. Facebook officially announced the
“cooperative” arrangement after a meeting took place between Israeli
government ministers and top Facebook officials on September 11th.
The Israeli government’s frenzied push to monitor and censor Facebook
content it deems inappropriate follows the viral success of BDS, or Boycott, Divest, Sanctions, a global non-violent movement that works to expose Israeli human rights violations.
The success of BDS has struck a nerve with Israel, leading its government to pass legislation allowing it to spy on and deport foreign activists operating within Israel and Palestine. Israel has also threatened the lives of BDS supporters and has lobbied
for legislative measures against BDS around the world. They are now
seeking to curtail any further BDS success by directly controlling the
content of Facebook users.
However, Facebook’s formal acknowledgement of its relationship with
Israel’s government is only the latest step in an accord that has been
in the works for months. In June of this year, Facebook’s Israel office
hired Jordana Cutler as head of policy and communications. Cutler is a
longtime adviser to Netanyahu and, before her recent hire at Facebook,
was Chief of Staff
at the Israeli embassy in Washington, DC. Facebook may have been
intimidated into the arrangement by Gilad Erdan, Israeli Minister of
Public Security, Strategic Affairs, and Information, who threatened
to enact legislation, in Israel and abroad, that would place
responsibility on Facebook for attacks “incited” by its social media
content. Erdan has previously said that Facebook “has a responsibility
to monitor is platform and remove content.”
In addition, as the Intercept reported
in June, Israel actively reviews the content of Palestinian Facebook
posts and has even arrested some Palestinians for posts on the social
media site. They then forward the requests for censorship to Facebook,
who accepts the requests 95% of the time.
|An Israeli Soldier with “Revenge” written across his chest took to
Facebook to incite retaliation against Palestinians after 3 Israeli
teenagers were killed. His post was not censored by Facebook and was
praised by the Times of Israel.
In what is an obvious and troubling disparity, Facebook posts inciting violence against Palestinians are surprisingly common and Facebook rarely censors these posts. According to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Glenn Greenwald,
this disparity underscores “the severe dangers of having our public
discourse overtaken, regulated, and controlled by a tiny number of
unaccountable teach giants.”
With Facebook arguably functioning as the most dominant force in journalism,
its control over the flow of information is significant. The fact that a
private company with such enormous influence has partnered with a
government to censor its opponents is an undeniable step towards social
media fascism. Though social media was once heralded as a revolutionary
opportunity to allow regular people to share information globally and to
politically organize for grassroots change, allowing governments to
censor their opposition threatens to transform it into something else
What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!
By Whitney Webb
This article (Facebook And Israel Officially Announce Collaboration To Censor Social Media Content) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and TrueActivist.com
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