Facebook sued over anti-Semitic pages

  • 28/10/2015

An Israeli NGO says it is suing Facebook for failing to remove pages that encourage the killing of Jews.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, director of the Shurat HaDin organisation that filed the lawsuit in the New York State Court on Monday (local time), said the claim holds the internet giant responsible for the presence of posts that incite violence.

It calls on the company to remove more than 1000 inflammatory pages and improve its monitoring mechanisms, but does not seek monetary damages.

"The same way they can tell what coffee you drink in the morning and push you ads or connect me with my friends that have similar hobbies, they can monitor these threats and take down the posts of encouragement and glorification of terror attacks," Darshan-Leitner told AFP.

About 20,000 Israelis have backed the move in an online petition, but are not plaintiffs in the case, added the activist lawyer, whose group files legal actions it says are aimed at safeguarding Jewish rights.

"This lawsuit is without merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously," Facebook said in a statement yesterday.

"We want people to feel safe when using Facebook. There is no place for content encouraging violence, direct threats, terrorism or hate speech on Facebook," the statement said.

"We urge people to use our reporting tools if they find content that they believe violates our standards so we can investigate and take swift action."

Nine Israelis have been killed in a series of stabbing attacks and shootings since October 1, while dozens have been wounded.

Fifty-six Palestinians and one Israeli Arab have been killed in the same period, about half of whom are alleged attackers.

With no political movement appearing to spearhead the unrest, social media posts praising the attacks and encouraging them have been accused of stoking the violence.