Facebook lowers the bar

star facebookDeath to Israel Facebook groupFacebook Community Standards?

I reported a Facebook Page Death to Israel.† Facebook replied ‘Thanks for your recent report of a potential violation on Facebook. After reviewing your report, we were not able to confirm that the specific page you reported violates Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. If a page with pictures of dead babies and acts of violence (many not from Israel/Palestine but labelled as such) is borderline what would Facebook describe as not OK?

Here is my reply:

How can anyone say a page whose name is DEATH TO ISRAEL (or any other country) with a profile picture of a National Flag spattered with blood doesn’t violate Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities? In particular those of Violence and Threats and Hate Speech but also including Graphic Content.

What part of the word ‘death’ don’t you understand? Every post and every one of the frequently gory graphics (many of them from other conflicts but labelled as crimes committed by Israel is designed to incite hatred and violence or excuse it when it occurs.

What do you think is doubtful about these images‡?

  1. Blood on the Israeli flag
  2. Serbian soldiers kicking someone
  3. Murdered Sri Lankan children
  4. Photoshopped Jewish youth labeled as Palestinian
  5. Lynching (in America)
  6. Encouraging violence by Christians. Stone throwing can kill.

You`do not permit individuals or groups to attack others based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition. What excludes attacks on ISRAEL from that category?

If this page doesn’t violate your Community Standards please give an example of something that does.

Facebook checks community standards

There are four locations for support teams worldwide. In the United States, staff are based in Menlo Park, California and Austin, Texas. The other teams operate in Dublin and Hyderabad in India. As support is based on timezones, there is a good likelihood that my report was handled by an Irish minimum wage checker or an Indian (43% of Hyderabad’s population is Muslim).  Neither gives me great confidence.

Facebook divides investigating abuse reports on the social network into four teams. The Safety Team deals with violent and harmful behaviour, the Hate and Harrassment team tackle hate speech, the Abusive Content Team handle scams, spam and sexually explicit content, and finally the Access Team assist users when their accounts are hacked or impersonated by imposters. I am very curious whether all teams are equally tough. The ‘Death to Israel’ complaint could equally have been sent to the Safety team or the Hate and Harassment teams.

Further reading

Five Minutes for Israel’s policy is to never provide a link to Destroy Israel Lobby sites.
‡ In the same spirit we deface graphics designed to incite hatred against Israel so we don’t even by accident promote their distribution. The reply to Facebook provided links.

About David Guy

B.A./B.C.A. (Communication and Media Arts) University of Wollongong, AUSTRALIA M.A. in Government (Diplomacy and Conflict Studies) Inter Disciplinary Center, Herzliya, ISRAEL Twitter @5MFI
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