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Jews pressure Facebook over Palestinian page


(RNS) Facebook shut down a “Third Palestinian Intifada” page and similar groups recently, prompted by complaints from Jewish groups that the content had crossed the line from free speech to violent incitement.

The campaign has raised questions about whether Facebook should be used to facilitate some popular uprisings but not others, and even whether Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has lost touch with his family’s Jewish roots.

Inspired by the successful use of social media to fuel popular protests in Egypt and elsewhere, the intifada fan page had amassed more than 300,000 “likes” from users for its proposed May 15 uprising before disappearing March 29.

Facebook, which has more than 500 million users worldwide, prohibits content that is “hateful, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.”

The intifada page was permitted as long as the creators maintained a theme of peaceful protest and deleted violent postings. But as the controversy grew, with Israeli officials and Jewish groups urging Facebook to take down the pages, the content deteriorated.