Yoaz Hendel
Yoaz Hendel Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel (Derech Eretz) harshly criticized social media giants and their transparency with the State of Israel.

In an interview with Israel Hayom, Hendel said: "There's a real problem with social media such as Facebook, which has three aspects: transparency, income, and control. The built-in tension is between our recognition of freedom of speech, in that the State does not need to control the truth, and the abuse that can be performed with this power. I can tell you that we are in non-stop talks with them. I have already met with TikTok's management, and we are in talks with Facebook and Twitter, and we are on the way to understandings with them."

According to him, there will be regulation of social media, but it will be achieved by mutual agreement.

"These dilemmas exist in every place in the world," he said. "The discourse in the US crosses party lines - they are busy with the monopoly that was created. We are learning from them and trying to develop practical models."

"I definitely am not happy with the status quo," Hendel added. "I am convinced that we need to involve ourselves somehow, and at the end of the day Israel will get involved. I am in favor of doing it via dialogue. If there is a decision by Facebook, for instance, to block certain citizens, the question is on the basis of what data did they make such a decision? They are basically doing editing, exactly like editors do in a newspaper. We will make order."

At the same time, Hendel supported censorship in certain cases and said that his ministry has an ongoing connection with the platforms' directors with regards to censorship of certain content.

"When we're talking about 'fake news' from anti-vaxxers, for example, where they present research which never existed and false information, it's like incitement. It's an issue of life and death. On issues such as these - we definitely have to interfere. Facebook is in constant connection with us about issues of anti-Semitic content, for example. When someone posts a video clip of an Arab youth hitting a haredi in Jerusalem, we definitely need to get involved. The question is only about the gray area."

The full interview will be published in Israel Hayom's newspaper on Friday.

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