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The New York-based civil rights attorney collaborating in legal action against Facebook with Shurat HaDin-The Israel Law Center said that the social media giant should deal with Palestinian incitement on its pages the way it does with child pornography.
Robert J. Tolchin, who – together with Shurat HaDin founder Nitsana Darshan-Leitner – has filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Facebook for having “knowingly provided material support and resources to Hamas” in the terrorist group’s successful campaign to incite young people to kill Jews — made this comparison in a televised interview with the Dutch news site TPTV on Tuesday.
In the 9-minute video, Tolchin said, “You cannot post a picture on Facebook of child pornography. If you tried to post it, instantly, the picture will be removed; your account will be closed; it will be referred to authorities for investigation; they have a robust system to screen the pictures, using electronic filters and human review. They’ve developed technology that can recognize pictures that are likely to contain pornography and flag them for human review. And it happens very, very rapidly; it’s been very successful. It’s not only Facebook that does that. All the online providers – they don’t want to be associated with child pornography.”
Tolchin and Darshan-Leitner filed the suit on behalf of people killed or wounded in Israel by Palestinian terrorists. The victims are: Taylor Force, a US Army veteran and Vanderbilt University graduate student who was stabbed to death in March; Naftali Fraenkel, one of three teenagers kidnapped and killed by Hamas in 2014; Menachem Mendel Rivkin, a Jerusalem resident seriously wounded in a stabbing attack in January; Chaya Zissel Braun, a three-month-old baby killed in a 2014 car-ramming attack in Jerusalem; and Richard Lakin, 76, killed in a stabbing and shooting attack on a Jerusalem bus in October. Force’s parents are leading the plaintiffs.
“Hamas has used and relied on Facebook’s online social network platform and communications services as among its most important tools to facilitate and carry out its terrorist activity,” they said in a statement.
Tolchin explained to interviewer Rene van Praag that there is an American statute called the Anti-Terrorism Act, which allows victims of terrorism and immediate family members to take legal action against any person or company that provides support — or goods or services — to the terrorist organization behind the killing or wounding of the plaintiffs.
In this case, Tolchin said, the claim is that Facebook “is essentially providing communications infrastructure to Hamas.”
Tolchin also said that he has proposed to Facebook that they work together to develop a protocol or policy that would flag and remove postings and pages that incite to terrorism “in a prompt and timely way,” so as to save lives.
He concluded by appealing to Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, “If you are serious, you will respond to that proposal…Call me, Mark. I’m on Facebook.”
As The Algemeiner reported in October, Tolchin and Darshan-Leitner also filed a class-action suit on behalf of 20,000 Israeli plaintiffs. Unlike the current suit, that one did not seek damages, and it is still pending.