Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked
Justice Minister Ayelet ShakedFlash90

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked spoke at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism's (ICT) 16th International Conference in the Sharon Hotel in Herzliya.

During her speech, Minister Shaked revealed data showing the extent of the cooperation between Israel and social media giants Facebook and YouTube.

Shaked has been at the forefront of efforts to combat the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement rampant on social media. With the development of the social media culture over the past few years, a new front of counter-terrorism has been opened, the digital front. The fight on this front focuses on efforts to cut-off terror from a digital form of "oxygen" - incitement on social media.

According to the data, Israel filed 158 requests to remove content on Facebook, and 13 requests to YouTube (owned by Google). Around 95% of the requested content was removed from Facebook, while YouTube agreed to remove 80% of the content.

Despite these encouraging development, Shaked emphasized that the fight against incitement on social media is very far from over. "The numbers are impressive, yet we still understand that the amount of incitement on social media is vast. We need to redouble our efforts, and so we shall. The pages that were removed by our request were very widely circulated and were getting many shares, like, and comments as long as they were live. Thus, a page like that, with incitement, is a constant source of growth for terror until it is uprooted. The removal of pages associated with terror groups is a satisfying result for us.

"The digital and economic fronts are no less important than the military front when it comes to fighting terror," Minister Shaked added, "the Justice Ministry, under my command, has been at the forefront of the fight against terror in the digital and economic realms. 2016-model terror requires a 2016-model response," quipped the Minister.

Shaked explained that her Ministry's efforts have been focused on the following fronts:

  • The establishment of a cyber department in the State Attorney's office charged with the task of having inciting content removed from social media and other internet sites. As part of the operations of the new department, Ministers Shaked and Gilad Erdan met with Facebook senior executives.
  • The "Facebook law", intended to legally require the removal of content that seriously endangers the security of the state and its citizens.
  • Punitive measures against the inciters themselves. The IDF Military Advocate-General's office has filed 120 indictments against Palestinians with charges of incitement, and the State Attorney's office has filed over 50 indictments against internet inciters.

"These actions create deterrence," Shaked stated, "if we remove inciteful content and we indict inciters, people understand the criminal implications of uploading inciting content and the possible consequences for them. They can no longer sit calmly at home and create a dialogue of hate, incitement, and racism. They can no longer hide behind the anonymity of the internet, or claim they don't know they're doing anything wrong.

"Israel is fighting the digital battle against 'lone-wolf' terrorism from all possible angles: cooperation with the top social media sites, courts orders when cooperation doesn't work, and punitive measures against the inciters themselves," the Justice Minister concluded.