Israel Struggles With How to Thwart a Viral ‘Instafada’

Violence spreading by social media has put Facebook in the spotlight in Israel

Source: Israel Struggles With How to Thwart a Viral ‘Instafada’

“Tehilla Shwartz-Altshuler, a social media expert with the Israel Democracy Institute, calls the recent wave of violence a viral “Instafada” powered by Facebook—the site is especially popular in hyper connected Israel—and other social media such as Instagram. “Stabbings and violence in the real world and on social media kind of collide,” says Shwartz-Altshuler. “This is something Israeli authorities were not prepared to cope with.”

Instead, the authorities have lashed out at Facebook. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called the recent bloodshed “Osama Bin Laden meets Mark Zuckerberg.” In a letter to Simon Milner, Facebook’s Europe, Middle East and Africa policy director, Knesset Member Revital Swid, who chairs the Caucus Against Violent and Inciting Dialogue in Social Media, called for the company to act to “immediately locate, monitor and remove pages that spew incitement and encourage murder… Facebook cannot detach itself from the terrorism being enabled through its network.” Thousands of Israelis have also joined a class action lawsuit against Facebook, accusing the site of “intentionally disregarding the widespread incitement and calls for murder of Jews.” (A Facebook spokesperson has said the suit is without merit.)”

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