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January 12, 2016

A video has been posted online apparently showing how Facebook removed an anti-Palestinian page from its site while allowing an anti-Israeli page to stay up.

The self-proclaimed “big Facebook experiment” by Israeli NGO Shurat HaDin was created to see whether the social media giant would treat Israeli and Palestinian pages equally.

The video, posted on January 4, has been viewed around 40,000 times on YouTube. It shows the group setting up two pages — “Stop Palestinians” and “Stop Israelis” — which carried identical forms of incitement, such as “death to the Arabs” and “death to the Jews”.

After simultaneously reporting the pages to Facebook, Shurat HaDin said it received a response later that day saying the anti-Palestinian page had been closed as it contained a “credible threat of violence”. However, the anti-Israeli page was kept open until January 5 — a week longer than the anti-Palestinian page — with the NGO stating that Facebook had told them it was “not in violation of Facebook’s rules.”
In its Community Standards section, Facebook states that “organisations and people dedicated to promoting hatred” against people based on their race, ethnicity or national origin “are not allowed a presence on Facebook”.

A spokesperson for the site said: “Facebook does not tolerate hate speech, including against people on the basis of their nationality. We review all reports and take down such content. Both these pages have now been removed from Facebook.”

Shurat HaDin’s director, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, said the experiment showed the company’s “biased attitude”. She added: “Who are the terrorists in this wave of terror? They are teenagers. Where did the call to stab Jews come from? They hear it on social media.”

Shurat HaDin was one of the three groups behind a class-action lawsuit filed against Facebook in October. Around 20,000 Israelis sued the social media giant over incitement posted on the site.