A Facebook page was created on July 25 that was called “Death to zionist baby killer Israeli jews.” Offensive and racially insensitive content like this is nothing new on the Internet, but Facebook’s reaction (or lack thereof) to the page took many by surprise. When Philip Klein, a reporter for the Washington Examiner, reported the page to Facebook, the site replied and told him that it did not violate their Community Standards.
This incident came closely on the heels of another ugly episode in France where the names, pictures and identities of French Jews was published on a Facebook page targeting them for attack. That page was taken down, though only after a man had already been assaulted as a result of the page.
Facebook’s Community Standards have come under criticism for similar instances before. Though the site doesn’t permit threats against individuals, it has shown a willingness to allow more general threats to be lobbed against groups of people.
“Facebook does not permit hate speech, but distinguishes between serious and humorous speech,” the Community Standards read. “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.”
After overwhelming criticism of the “death to Jews” page, Facebook did finally remove it. However, the incident raises an important question: why is content like that allowed to live on Facebook for any period of time in the first place?