Facebook has found itself drawn into a war of words over its approach to conflict in the Middle East after being publicly accused of being uncooperative in its approach to removing abusive messages and inflammatory remarks by the Israeli government.
The put down comes amidst a 10 month escalation of stabbings and other attacks in Israel, prompting prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to seek new powers enabling the government to forcibly remove posts it holds to be threatening.
Amidst heightened tensions public security minister Gilad Erdan accused Facebook of ‘sabotaging’ police operations by withholding cooperation on identifying suspects in the occupied West bank and putting in place a ‘very high bar for removing inciteful content and posts’.
Israel has been further angered by Facebook’s refusal to recognise Israeli jurisdiction of the disputed West Bank, captured by Israel in 1967 and thus refuses to hand over information.
In a statement defending its approach Facebook said: “We work regularly with safety organizations and policymakers around the world, including Israel, to ensure that people know how to make safe use of Facebook. There is no room for content that promotes violence, direct threats, terrorist or hate speeches on our platform.”
Israel has recently highlighted 74 posts it views as ‘inciteful’, of which just 24 were subsequently removed.