The Cabinet is set to vote on a bill which would empower the courts to order social media sites to remove content inciting to terrorism.
The bill, which was initiated by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan, gives Israeli courts the power to order internet sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google to remove criminal content as well as content which constitutes a danger to public safety.
Social media sites have been accused of providing a platform for incitement to violence and racism, and for facilitating communication between terrorists and the recruitment of individuals to terrorist organizations. The bill stipulates that the state would issue warnings to internet sites and providers which feature incitement to violence or terrorism to remove the offensive content, and that the state could request that the courts order the sites to remove the content if there is no response to the the initial letter.
Justice Minister Shaked said that the bill was necessary for the fight against terror. “There is an anomaly and a loophole in the law now, where inciteful content is distributed regularly on social media, which is fertile ground for the prolific growth of lone-wolf terrorists. This causes a butterfly effect, where a person’s typing in a single place can create a storm which causes people to kill in another place, without the ability to enforce or control [this phenomenon]. This is unacceptable and must be resolved.”
“We saw the limitations of the existing legislation during the last wave of terrorism.” she added.
Public Security Minister Erdan said: “Despite the fact that incitement leads to terrorism, Facebook and other internet companies do not respond to calls by the police to remove content of incitement, and it sometimes take a long time to get inflammatory content removed. Therefore, this new law is necessary to give us the tools to act immediately and remove content which could lead to acts of terrorism and murder.”