Israel approves Facebook bill for banning terrorist content

Ministers in Israel have approved a bill - dubbed the "Facebook bill" - that seeks to compel social media platforms to immediately remove contents from their platforms that the Israeli courts consider incitements that could lead to violence or terrorism.

Israel approves Facebook bill for banning terrorist content

A Ministerial Committee for Legislation in Israel on Sunday approved a bill – dubbed the “Facebook bill” – that would empower courts to order companies like Facebook, Google, YouTube and Twitter to remove posts that the authorities consider “a criminal endangerment to personal, public or national security.”

“At Facebook, nothing is more important than community safety and we work hard to keep people safe. We have zero tolerance for terrorists, praise for their acts and incitement to real-world violence. We work aggressively to remove it from our platform as soon as we become aware of it,” a representative of Facebook in Israel said following the bill’s approval.

Facebook and other social networking platforms such as Twitter currently remove contents related to hate speech, violence and terrorism on government requests but they are not required everywhere to act immediately and remove all posts.

In the past year, the Justice Ministry of Israel submitted 1,755 requests to remove content to the providers, 71% of which received positive responses.

Almost a thousand of those were removed by Facebook alone, and also constitute 71% of the requests made by the Israeli government. This also included content Israeli authorities claim violate defamation laws, adoption laws and Holocaust denial.

“We are constantly looking to improve the effectiveness of our safety measures and have ongoing dialogue with other companies, NGOs and law enforcement to this.

“Just this month, Facebook, along with other US tech companies, announced the creation of a shared industry database of ‘hashes’ – unique digital ‘fingerprints’ – of violent terrorist videos or images, to enable us to act on such content even more quickly,” the Facebook representative stated.