20,000 Israelis sue Facebook over failure to moderate incitement of violence

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20,000 Israelis sue Facebook over failure to moderate incitement of violence

In recent weeks, terrorist attacks have been common, and Israel’s government has repeatedly said it is in part due to Palestinian incitement against Israelis.

Lawyers in America and Israel have sued Facebook on behalf of 20,000 Israeli plaintiffs who accuse it of “fanning the flames of terror” for not self-monitoring Palestinian content inciting violence against Jews. 

Law firms in Florida and New York filed against the social media giant, which has over 1 billion users, after Israelis said “murderers were motivated to commit their heinous crimes by incitement to murder they read on Facebook”.

During the recent wave of violence, posts have urged the slaughter of Jews, and some have even offered instruction, with anatomical charts showing the best places to stab someone.

Richard Lankin, 76, the lead plaintiff, was on a crowded Jerusalem bus last month, when armed Palestinians from East Jerusalem boarded. He was shot in the head, stabbed several times and remains in critical condition.

Under American law, social media platforms are not required to police content, as they are not deemed to be the publisher, but lawyers say it has “a legal and moral obligation” to monitor and restrict the racist incitement.

“While everyone understands the need to keep the web free, Facebook’s decision to allow this flood of terrorist incitement has crossed all red lines,” said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of Israel Law Center.

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