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Can Israel twist Facebook's arm?

Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan hopes to hold Facebook responsible for incitement against Israelis on its platform, though policing social media is widely understood to be nearly impossible.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is seen on stage during a town hall with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, California September 27, 2015. REUTERS/Stephen Lam  - RTX1SQLE
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Two weeks ago, Simon Milner paid a short visit to Israel. As Facebook’s policy director for the United Kingdom, Middle East and Africa, Milner had been to Israel several times before. This time he asked for an urgent meeting with Minister of Internal Security Gilad Erdan. He had heard about an effort Erdan was leading to establish a legislative mechanism that would require Facebook and Twitter to assume responsibility for any incitement to terrorism that occurs on their platforms.

The meeting took place in Erdan’s office at the Knesset. The mood was positive, and Milner made a point of listening to each of the Israeli minister’s claims. Beyond that, however, there was no bottom line, and the meeting ended without any results. Milner promised to look into the matter, but since then, Erdan’s office hasn’t heard a word from him. Meanwhile, Erdan met with Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and offered to consolidate forces with her. He proposed establishing a joint team that would formulate red lines for incitement and propose legislation to deal with social networks.

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