Incitement on Facebook? 'Report, it'll help'

Orna Heilinger, Internet Safety Center's director, says Facebook has removed pictures of bloody knives and clear calls for death to Jews.

Shimon Cohen,

Facebook (illustration)
Facebook (illustration)
Thinkstock

Following a lawsuit against Facebook on behalf of tens of thousands of Israel over groups inciting against Israel, Arutz Sheva spoke with Orna Heilinger, the director of the Internet Safety Center. Heilinger used the opportunity to explain how to act in an arena that appears to lack any limits.

Heilinger began by stating that she, too, feels that not enough is being done to prevent incitement on Facebook. Despite this, she added, "I know that they are trying to do something and are removing problematic content."

According to her, there is a strong feeling of frustration in attempts to sue Facebook into removing inciting content despite the site having strict rules. "They will not remove content that does not truly contain incitement, calls to violence, or calls to attack individuals. The lines are very gray - if there is a picture of the Prime Minister in a Nazi uniform, is it incitement? In my opinion it is, but I can also understand why someone would say no. The lines are very blurred.

"Expecting that Facebook will take care of our social issues is the wrong attitude. We must look around us and see that the people around us are those who are uploading this content. Facebook is not the responsible adult. We must be responsible adults and lower the flames."

Heilinger further said that, in her opinion, "Facebook can and must do more. I am happy that there is a strong voice telling Facebook 'enough.' In addition, I don't expect great results because they can cover themselves under the mantle of free speech. We must act amongst ourselves."

She has internalized these concepts about incitement in Israeli society. When she was asked about incitement against Israel and Israelis, calls for violence and so on, she notes that we indeed must do more. She notes that the Israeli Internet Authority has sent dozens of complaints to Facebook and that, even if not all are answered, "I think that Facebook should look into itself a little."

Heilinger was asked to provide examples in which the Authority succeeded in removing content from Facebook. She responded, "The moment that we reported pictures of knives dripping blood or clear calls for death to Jews or calls to make attacks, they removed these items. I think that they don't get to everything and so I would like the public to report. When there are more reports there on borderline cases, they will remove the problematic content."

With regard to this she suggested that the public get in touch with the Internet Safety Center in order to receive more information and to submit complaints to Facebook should they find inciting material. "As far as we are concerned, incitement is an explosive, it's a knife dripping blood and must be reported."




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