Israeli ministry of justice said that Facebook, Twitter and other networks removed thousands of materials posted by Palestinians this year on its request.
Social media services like Facebook and Twitter are increasingly likely to remove content from their networks upon request by Israeli ministry of justice officials, according to testimony by a government official at a parliamentary committee meeting on Monday.
An Israeli website specialised in IT news reported the head of cyber unit at Israel’s State Attorney’s Office Haim Wismonsky telling the government ministers that 85 per cent of government requests to remove content deemed harmful or dangerous were accepted in 2017, compared to 70 per cent last year.
In 2016, the government requested the removal of 2,250 posts or social media pages. This year’s total will not be available for another month, but “the amount of content multiplied several-fold,” said Wismonsky. “There was an enormous spike.”
The parliamentary committee that heard Mr. Wismonsky convened in order to discuss a proposal for a law that would empower an administrative tribunal to order social media companies to remove certain types of content.
Under the so-called “Facebook Law,” two conditions would have to be met for a tribunal to make such a ruling.
First, the court would have to deem the content criminal in nature. Then, the court would have to decide that it represents a threat to an individual, to public safety or to national security. The law would apply to all social media and also to Google search results.
Israeli occupation considers all posts by Palestinians who disclose Israeli crimes against them, their land, property and holy sites as criminal and pose danger on public safety.
Some companies have been more cooperative than others. It is easy to get Google and Facebook to act, Mr. Wismonsky said, adding that Twitter and WordPress are less likely to cooperate.
“There are cases in which we think something poses a threat, but the company says its user agreement has not been violated,” Wismonsky said. “Then, we will want legal backing.”
The parliamentary committee's chairman Nissan Slomiansky said: “I am not saying that we are going to control these companies but we cannot let them go completely unchecked… We have to agree that every entity obey the laws of the state [of Israel] where it operates.”