Facebook, applications

‘The Facebook Bill’ initiated by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Interior Minister Gilad Erdan has now been approved by ministers in Israel. The bill cleared a Ministerial Committee for Legislation vote on Sunday which would be providing greater autonomy to control the incited content over various social media platforms. It is currently surrounded with controversies over limiting freedom of free speech and delineating the liberty of social media providers.

If the said bill converts into a law, it would imply removal of terror inciting content over the social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google etc. The bill has been dubbed as the Facebook Bill and would allow district courts to order individuals alongside internet companies to discard content that pose a threat to safety and violates the criminal statutes. After passing the Ministerial Committee, the gate has been opened for Knesset (national legislature of Israel), though the bill might undergo few amendments in the process.

Speaking upon the withdraws of the bill, Jonathan Klinger, legal adviser for Digital Rights Movement, said,

The problem with the law is that it is designed to obscure the view of the Israeli public but not to prevent people from posting things that could harm the security of the country. This is a law that lets the police obtain an order blocking access to a specific website without bring the person who posted it to justice.

Previously, Facebook had removed approx. 1,000 requests out of  1,755 requests submitted by Justice Ministry. These requests included posts violating defamation laws, adoption laws and Holocaust denial. Facebook is constantly working upon the community safety and remove inciting content as soon as they know about it. Facebook responded upon the bill saying,

Only this month, Facebook, together with other American technology companies, announced the setting up of a common database of violent terror content, including videos and photos, to enable us to act faster against content of this kind.

This move will aid the war on terror on the internet and is the outcome of cooperation – not regulation,We hope to continue to maintain a helpful dialogue with the government in Israel and other interested parties. We hope that there’ll be a careful examination of the implications of this law on Israeli democracy, freedom of expression, an open internet and the buoyancy of Israeli internet.

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