“There is no place on Facebook for terrorism or terrorist organizations,” said Simon Milner, Facebook policy director for the United Kingdom, Middle East and Africa. “Hamas cannot have a position on Facebook to incite violence – it cannot even have a page on Facebook. Nor are people allowed to express support for terrorist organizations. We take a zero tolerance approach.”
This was the stance of Milner, who on Monday, January 16, took part in an exclusive and high-level roundtable discussion on Facebook policies, Israel’s proposed Facebook Bill and freedom of expression.
In late December, the Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved the controversial “Removal of Criminally Offensive Content from the Internet bill” (also known as the Facebook Bill). The bill could allow local courts to force social media companies such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to immediately remove content deemed illegal.
Milner said that Facebook handles millions of reports of inappropriate or harmful content every week. He said each post that is reported is sent to a team of individuals who consider the content. There are different teams for different types of content, from terror and incitement to violence to pornography and exploitation of minors. Hebrew reports are vetted by a team of Hebrew speakers based in Ireland.
According to Facebook’s published transparency report, Facebook blocked 962 pieces of content in the first half of 2016 (January-June) in Israel.
The Facebook event took place as part of IDI’s Democracy in the Information Age program, under the auspices of Dr. Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler. For more information about IDI’s Democracy in the Information Age program, click here.
Other attendees included: Dr. Anat Ben-David, professor of sociology, political science and communication at Israel’s Open University; Jordana Cutler, head of policy in Israel for Facebook; Dr. Atara Frenkel-Faran, head of the digital media division of the School of Communications at Sapir College; Nir Hirschman, CEO OF Nirshman’s PR; Dr. Roy Peled, a lecturer at the Buchmann Faculty of Law at Tel Aviv University; and Boaz Rakocz, founder of The Whistle - Independent and Accurate Media for Israel (NGO).