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“Facebook Bill” Nears Passage in Israeli Parliament

A bill that will allow Israeli officials to force social media giant Facebook to remove postings and sites seen as inciting violence is nearing passage in the parliament. A ministerial committee has passed the bill which will now go forth for approval by the full parliament (Knesset). Sponsors of the bill are trying to reassure the public – much of which is concerned by the seeming muzzling of free speech – that the demands will be enforced only when there is a clear indication of incitement and that the offensive posting will foment violence –“endangering the public or national security.” A court order will be required before taking action to remove the posting. Critics of the bill – and of the government – argue it’s a further entrenchment of a growing anti-democratic trend. But the bill’s sponsors argue the measures permitted by the legislation are no different than those the US or many European nations allow. The bill specifically includes anti-Arab rhetoric among actionable language.