Home inContext Facebook Slow to Regulate Anti-Semitic Pages

Facebook Slow to Regulate Anti-Semitic Pages

Samara Greenberg

An anti-Semitic Facebook page dedicated to acknowledging the increased presence of Jews in the Irish town of Midleton appeared online earlier this week. Titled “The invasion of Jews in Midleton,” the page, which sports a “Jew Jitsu” logo, has received 427 “Likes” at the time of this writing. The page’s description reads: “Join if you have escaped being captured by the jews in midleton in the last few days.”

While many of the hate-filled messages left by members on the page’s wall have since been removed, news sources were able to document them prior to being erased. For example, one member said the creator of the page “is an absolute legend.” “Careful if you ever shakin hands wit one their claws are rele sharp [sic],” wrote another.

Image found on “The Invasion of Jews in Midleton” Facebook page.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time members of the networking website have published pages either insensitive to Jews or blatantly anti-Semitic. At the end of July, following a complaint from The Wiesenthal Center, Facebook removed a page advertising a ‘spa’ at the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz. The page included statements advertising spa services such as “river of Jewish blood” and “saunas using gas.” And, earlier in the month, a murderous anti-Semitic event appeared on Facebook called “Kill a Jew Day.” The page urged users to violence “anywhere you see a Jew” between July 4 and July 22. The page has also since been removed.

While instances of anti-Semitism and hatred on social networking sites are to be expected, as the world’s most popular social networking site, it is Facebook’s responsibility to proactively root out such groups rather than wait for a member to report an offensive page, as is currently the case. As David Appletree, founder of the Jewish Internet Defense Force, asserts, Facebook could implement technologies that are sensitive to keywords which prevent such pages from being loaded, and could deactivate accounts responsible for the material rather than simply remove the pages.

Facebook’s founders argue that implementing such rules would impinge on their members’ right to freedom of speech. However, on the contrary, regulations would illustrate that Facebook refuses to allow its technology to be used to incite hatred, and that its founders stand up for each individuals right to life, no matter the religion they practice.