In yet another example of how government pressure can at times, force corporate entities to do their bidding, Facebook and Twitter have recently deleted thousands of posts, pages and accounts in response to demands from the ministry of justice of Israel.
Speaking to newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, Israeli Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked said,
We succeeded to achieve our goals as around 70 per cent of our demands [to delete Facebook and Twitter content] were fulfilled.
Shedding light on the type of content that was requested to be removed, She added that,
We succeeded to delete incitement contents calling for death and violence across the internet.
Predictably, supporters of the Palestinian cause are most unhappy with the development and have expressed their discontent. As per the Palestine Chronicle,
It is not uncommon for Israel to use control social media and freedom of expression as a means of controlling viewpoints from being expressed globally.
However Shaked differed, stating that with a decrease in internet incitement brought about by the deletion of content by Facebook and Twitter, the attacks on Israelis have also shown to be decreasing.
This proves that there is a direct relationship between internet incitement and violence in Israel.
Well, while i am definitely not in favor of attacks upon Israelis — or Palestinians for that matter — a lot has to be said for the freedom of expression over the web. Internet is the single largest medium of expression and that is something that should remain free and beyond the control of governments. That said though, considering the reach and effect of social networking, it should be also ensured that the medium is not used to spread terror and incite violence.
All in all, social media is an extremely powerful tool and there is a very fine line between its use for good or bad. Now it is up to the corporations to use their better judgement — which should hopefully be neutral and remain free from territorial influences by virtue of them being global organizations — to take the best possible decision.