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Israel Gears Up to Take Facebook to Task over Damaging Posts

October 11, 2021

by: Janet Aslin

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Monday, 11 October 2021 | According to a recent report by N12, a Hebrew-language television station, Israel’s Communications Ministry is currently in the process of assembling a team of experts who will tackle certain practices of the social media giant, Facebook.

At the heart of the matter: Should Facebook be legally liable, like newspapers and other traditional publishers, for the content that appears on its platform? Hate speech, incitement, libel and misinformation—Facebook has come under fire in recent years for failing to curb this damaging content. As of today, the social media Goliath currently faces no legal liability for the content posted by its users.

In addition to responsibility for content, the Israeli government task force seeks to bring more transparency to social media platforms. Facebook has been accused of censorship, removing user accounts and content without revealing the reason for such action.

The Times of Israel wrote that Israeli “officials will attempt to get Facebook representatives to hold discussions with them to find a solution. The idea would be to urge Facebook to take steps of its own to ensure greater transparency and responsibility in its operations, or face government-imposed measures.” If these overtures are not successful, according to the N12 report, Israel’s communications ministry may seek to hold social media liable for libelous or other damaging content.

Facebook began in February 2004 as a social networking service to connect college students in the United States. It rapidly outgrew that limited audience and as of March 2021 had 2.85 billion users around the globe.

The platform’s six-hour outage on October 4 should serve as a wake-up call to the world that Facebook functions as much more than a social networking service these days. It is a powerhouse that connects people to world events and in the eyes of many is their only source of news.

With that position, comes responsibility. Kudos to the Israel Communications Ministry for taking a step towards holding social media to a higher standard.

Posted on October 11, 2021

Source: (Bridges for Peace, October 11, 2021)

Photo Credit: Brett Jordan/Unsplash.com

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