Facebook ordered to take down anti-Semitic page

The Anti-Defamation League says a page claiming Jewish people are involved in ritual murder constitutes hate speech and therefore should be removed immediately.

Facebook is under fire from the Anti-Defamation League about a page titled "Jewish Ritual Murder." The group, which battles anti-Semitism and racism, has ordered the social network to remove the page.

"The 'Jewish Ritual Murder' page on Facebook perpetuates age-old anti-Semitic propaganda, and it should be removed immediately," ADL national director Abraham H. Foxman said in a statement. "It is profoundly offensive, has no socially redeeming value, and adds nothing to any legitimate marketplace of ideas."

The page in question hasn't had much action from users. It only has a handful of likes, 267, and a few posts -- the last of which was added nearly two years ago. The page accuses Jewish people of being involved in ritual murder and doesn't substantiate these claims.

Facebook is very clear about its terms of service. Each abuse complaint the social network receives is reviewed by an employee to see if community standards are being violated. In order to be removed, a page must have language that attacks an individual or group with hate speech. Posting inaccurate or false information doesn't violate Facebook's community standards.

When contacted by CNET, a Facebook spokesperson pointed to the social network's page on community standards regarding hate speech.

"Facebook does not permit hate speech," the page reads. "While we encourage you to challenge ideas, institutions, events, and practices, we do not permit individuals or groups to attack others based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition."

It appears Facebook doesn't plan to remove the page because it says it doesn't violate community standards. Despite Facebook's position, the ADL still believes the page should be pulled.

"We do not believe that Facebook intends to send a message that they are insensitive to the enormous harm the blood libel has caused throughout Jewish history, and the easiest way for them to make that clear would be to exercise the discretion they certainly have to remove the page," Foxman said.

ADL is known for going after Facebook and Twitter pages it believes perpetuate anti-Semitism and hate speech. In 2011, it successfully campaigned to get Facebook to remove a page calling for a Palestinian intifada; and in 2012, it went after Twitter for allowing a plethora of anti-Jewish posts on the French version of the microblogging site.

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About the author

Dara Kerr, a freelance journalist based in the Bay Area, is fascinated by robots, supercomputers and Internet memes. When not writing about technology and modernity, she likes to travel to far-off countries.

 

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