Friday, January 22, 2010

Should we petition Facebook to delete groups?

A guest post by Rabba bar bar Chana

I got a Facebook invitation today from a friend (who also reads this blog) to join a FB cause called “Call Facebook to delete all Hate groups against Israel”. While I certainly sympathize with the sentiment, isn’t such a group encouraging censorship?

If the cause called for Facebook to delete a group that espoused unambiguous anti-Semitism, I would be less conflicted. And while the cause does target a specific group, the name of the cause is very all-inclusive.

Who decides what constitutes a “hate group against Israel”? That opens up the whole question of what constitutes genuine criticism of Israel and what crosses the line. Is it an easy one like a group encouraging terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians? Or is it (as I’m sure some right-wingers I know would assert) a group that condemns the occupation and compares it apartheid?

And isn’t it likely that Israel’s opponents would then retaliate by trying to get Facebook to delete pro-Israel websites, saying that they were hate groups against Palestinians? Is this really the best direction to go in?

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