An Israeli NGO group recently conducted a Facebook experiment using two phony profiles to determine if the site had any political biases. The group, called Shurat HaDin, created two pages with nearly identical content called “Stop Israelis” and “Stop Palestinians,” swapping the words “Jews/Israelis” and “Arabs/Palestinians” where necessary.
Then, on December 29, the group started to post content on both pages inciting violence, including phrases like “death to all the Arabs/Jews” and calling for war on the “Palestinian enemy.” Shurat HaDin then reported both pages to Facebook for offensive content. The page inciting violence against the Arabs was shut down almost immediately, but the one posting offensive content about the Israelis was allowed to remain up.
Naturally, the Israeli group drew a simple conclusion: Facebook has a strong bias against the Jewish state.
“The in-depth investigation we conducted proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that [Facebook’s] claims of equality in the face of its conduct against any individual or group of people are at best erroneous and false in the worst case,” Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, head of Shurat HaDin, said.
Whether or not Facebook has real biases isn’t as clear-cut as the group makes it seem, but it’s undeniably bad for Facebook to get publicly aired out for selective blocking like this. How the site responds to such explosive allegations will be interesting.