Israel eyes world coalition to block online “incitement”. How loose will the concept be ?

Israel eyes world coalition to force social media platforms to block incitement

Gilad Erdan to develop legislation that would force Facebook, YouTube, Twitter et al. to take responsibility for content; says Europe ‘very interested in idea’

January 19, 2016, 7:21 pm 7
Cartoon encouraging attacks on Israelis published on Fatah Facebook page, October 2015 (PMW)

Cartoon encouraging attacks on Israelis published on Fatah Facebook page, October 2015 (PMW)

Israel is aiming to build an international coalition to force the world’s leading social media giants to prevent their platforms from being abused to peddle incitement to terrorism.

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The move, which was unveiled by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan at Sunday’s cabinet meeting, aims at requiring Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and other social networks to take greater responsibility for such content.

While some experts consider the idea unworkable — arguing that the terms of service of such platforms protect them from any legal threat, and that the preventative measures Erdan wants to see introduced are not possible technologically, others say a coalition pushing for change could be effective, and certainly stands more of a chance than an effort led by Israel alone.

The social media giants “make millions but claim they are not responsible for content, and that they only provide a platform,” a spokesperson for Erdan told The Times of Israel. “That is not going to wash. We are planning to put a stop to this irresponsibility, and we are going to do it as part of an international coalition that has had enough of this behavior as well.”

Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan arrives at the weekly government meeting in Jerusalem, January 3, 2016. (Alex Kolomoisky/POOL)

On Sunday, Erdan introduced the idea of building an international legal coalition to take action against social media platforms if they do not proactively prevent the use of their systems to upload videos, songs, photos, and other content that inspire would-be terrorists to pick up knives, guns, rocks, and other weapons to attack Israelis.

At the weekly cabinet meeting, Erdan presented ministers with an “index of incitement,” showing a correlation between instances of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic content posted by Palestinians, and the level of violence by Palestinians against Israelis.

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