TEL AVIV – Following a $1 billion class-action suit filed against Facebook by American victims of Hamas terror, Israel’s Justice Minister and Public Security Minister presented to the Knesset an unprecedented bill for the forced removal of terror-inciting content from social media platforms.
Gilad Erdan and Ayelet Shaked publicized the bill giving courts the power to order social media giants, including Facebook, Google, YouTube, and Twitter, to remove content considered criminal or that constitutes a threat to personal, public, or state security.
In the event that purported terror-enabling content is not removed at the request of the state, the court will order social media providers to do so without necessarily giving notice. Cases of incitement will be given the same consideration as child pornography in that concerns relating to freedom of speech will be disregarded.
The bill was formulated in collaboration with the Israel Police after Justice Minister Shaked met with top Facebook executives visiting the country in June. Shaked noted that social media platforms have left the state with no choice but to take this path since she charged that they failed to block the incitement both on their own volition and after receiving repeated requests from the police.
On Monday, the families of five Americans murdered or wounded in the latest wave of Palestinian terror attacks in Israel filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Facebook at the New York State District Court under the Anti-Terrorism Act, accusing the social media giant of failing to ban terror group Hamas from using its platform.
“Facebook has knowingly provided material support and resources to Hamas in the form of Facebook’s online social media network platform and communication services,” a press release issued by the plaintiffs said. “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.”
The primary plaintiffs are Stuart and Robbi Force, the parents of Taylor Force, a U.S. Army veteran and Vanderbilt University graduate student who was stabbed to death by a Hamas terrorist while on a visit to Israel in March.
The Times of Israel reported last year that nearly eight million Palestinians are followers of two Facebook pages belonging to news networks affiliated with terror groups like Islamic Jihad and Hamas. The pages frequently publish terrorism-promoting content including cartoons encouraging attacks on Israelis and images of dead Palestinians accompanied by the hashtag “#Stab!”
Public Security Minister Erdan accused Facebook of being a “monster” and said that its CEO Mark Zuckerberg has the blood of slain Israelis on his hands.