Facebook rejects Israeli minister’s allegations

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London, July 4 (IANS) Facebook has rejected allegations by Israel’s public security minister that the social media giant bears responsibility for acts of terror in the country and accused of not cooperating with Israeli police.

Reacting to Gilad Erdan’s comments which he made on a TV channel over the weekend, Facebook said there was no place for content encouraging violence, direct threats, terror or hatred on our platform,” Haaretz daily reported on Monday.

“The public security minister also blamed Facebook for the fact that no one on Facebook had reported the posts of the terrorist who murdered (Palestinian teenager) Hallel Yaffa Ariel in her sleep, in which he had said he wanted to die a martyr’s death,” the report added.

“However, plenty of Palestinians have been arrested and tried for far less than that – for instance, for “liking” certain posts or changing their profile pictures,” the report said.

Facebook, however, replied in a statement: “We work regularly with safety organisations and policymakers around the world, including Israel, to ensure that people know how to make safe use of Facebook.”

In a bid to answer critics that it has not done enough to tackle online racist and hate speech at a time when Europe is going through a refugee crisis, Facebook has started a new initiative to counter extremist posts on the social networking website in Europe.

Called “Online Civil Courage Initiative”, it is based in Berlin and supported by the German Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection.

According to Facebook, it will invest 1 million euros in European non-governmental organisations that are fighting online extremism.

“Facebook is not a place for the dissemination of hate speech or incitement to violence. With this new initiative, we can better understand and respond to the challenges of extremist speech on the Internet,” said Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, while announcing the initiative in Berlin.

CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg has also reiterated hate speech has no place on Facebook and in its community.



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