Israel: Facebook experiment reveals how ‘terror-related’ posts are treated differently

Interesting and revealing:

Two Israelis — an Arab and a Jew — posted messages on Facebook saying they were going to kill someone on the other side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The two posters were real people with active Facebook pages, but the threat was part of an experiment conducted by an Israeli news station last week. The goal was to monitor the reactions of individuals and Israeli authorities who are tasked with keeping tabs on social-media posts that they say might inspire terrorist attacks.

Critics in both communities say social media has served as a conduit for unstoppable deadly violence. While the low-intensity Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been burning for decades, the platforms have given rise to individual extremists and lone-wolf attackers who are much more difficult to stop, officials say.

After posting that he had been inspired to kill Jews, Shadi Khalileh, the Arab citizen, received calls from concerned friends and family. Israeli Arab members of parliament, who heard about his post via word of mouth, even called to ask why he would post such a message, or whether his page had been hacked. Only 12 people “liked” his post.

The Jewish citizen, Daniel Levy, wrote that he had to seek revenge after a Palestinian killed a 13-year-old Jewish girl in her bed. His post drew some 600 “likes,” 25 shares and comments such as “I am proud of you” and “you are a king.” One comment urged him to “please take the post down before you are arrested.”

Israeli police questioned Khalileh about his post — it took some work to convince them that it had all been an experiment. But Levy’s post went undetected by the authorities, the news station said.

In neither case did Facebook flag the posts, which remained online until the station ended the experiment.

The failure of social-media platforms to take action against posts calling for the murder of Israelis or Palestinians, Jews or Arabs, has become a growing issue for those on both sides of this decades-old conflict.

Source: Facebook experiment reveals how ‘terror-related’ posts are treated differently | Toronto Star

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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