September 26 update: In the twelve days since this report was published, on September 14, Facebook has allowed both of the users we identified as being long-term, egregious violators of its ethical policies, to remain active. Worse, it has allowed them to publish more materials that violate its policies – including one post that hailed as a “martyr” the terrorist who, on September 16, was caught on video attempting to murder several Israeli soldiers. In the following 48 hours, the video was viewed more than 200,000 times, and there were five more Palestinian terror attacks on Jews. Was there a relationship between this incitement and the terrorist attacks that followed? See all the details here.
by Jon Sutz, Editor, SaveTheWest.com
This special SaveTheWest report documents the following facts:
(1) Facebook publicly claims that it does not allow anyone to maintain an account if they post material that (a) supports or praises terrorist activity or the leaders of terrorist groups, or (b) incites violence, or (c) contains graphic or gratuitous violence.
(2) Facebook knowingly, willfully enables Palestinian users to egregiously violate its ethical policies — specifically, in the context of inciting, glorifying and justifying terrorism against Jews.
(3) Although Facebook occasionally takes down specific posts by Palestinian terrorism supporters, presumably due to complaints from other users, it has left their accounts active, in some cases for years, thus enabling them to continue posting such materials. One of these users is reportedly notorious for posting anti-Semitic “snuff” (murder) films — yet Facebook has allowed it to be active for more than five years.
(4) In contrast, Facebook recently banned several notable pro-freedom, anti-terrorism users, for posting written opinions on terrorism — but which did not violate its policies. Facebook later restored these users’ accounts, but only after their stories appeared in national news media.
These allegations also serve as the basis of a major lawsuit against Facebook, filed in October 2015, by the victims and surviving family members of Palestinian terrorist attacks.
If, after reading this report, you would like to express your thoughts to Facebook, please click here.
Facebook allowed a notorious Palestinian user to post a video that graphically dramatizes the murder of Jews, and justified such terrorism
On September 5, 2016, Facebook allowed a user to upload and share a 30-minute video that graphically depicts Palestinian terrorists murdering Jewish civilians, followed by Palestinian children and leaders justifying and celebrating such attacks. The user that uploaded the video, the Al Quds News Network (“AQNN”), is reportedly notorious for posting similar “snuff” videos on Facebook and other social media (more on that in a moment). The AQNN’s video was located at this URL:
On the afternoon of September 7, 2016, SaveTheWest.com became aware of the AQNN’s “snuff” video, and took the following screencaps.
(1) The video opens with a Palestinian terrorist spotting an auto being driven by actors who dressed as Jews:
(2) The Palestinian terrorist radios ahead to other terrorists, who open fire on the auto with machine guns and hand grenades:
(3) As the Jews crawl out of their bullet-riddled vehicle, bloody and severely wounded, one of the Palestinian terrorists slowly walks into the scene from the right, with the muzzle of his machine gun pointing at the driver’s head (see red arrows). The victim slowly looks up at the terrorist, and the last thing he sees is the muzzle flash of the machine gun as bullets tear into his head.
The video then transitions to Palestinian children and adults celebrating and justifying this murder, and the entire anti-Semitic, genocidal belief structure that drives their relentless terrorism against Jews.
Facebook removed the AQNN’s video — but left its account active, enabling it to post other anti-Semitic, terror-inciting videos
SaveTheWest and other users filed complaints with Facebook about this video. By 7:15pm on September 7, Facebook had removed the video:
Facebook, however, has allowed the AQNN page to remain active. The following screencap was taken at 3:45pm on September 13, four days after Facebook removed the video:
Facebook’s courtesy has enabled the AQNN to continue spreading anti-Semitic, terror-inciting videos, including this one — which has been viewed 234,999 times:
(1) The video opens with a person (presumably a terrorist) moving through one of Hamas’s notorious “terror-tunnels,” to an apocalyptic, threatening soundtrack:
(2) The video concludes just as the presumed terrorist is about to emerge from the tunnel, perhaps beneath an Israeli kindergarten, or home, upon which he and his fellow terrorists will unleash untold carnage:
Clicking on the “Videos” link on the AQNN page reveals that Facebook has allowed this notorious site to maintain hundreds of other videos it has uploaded (this video was taken on September 9):
Facebook’s “Community Standards” clearly state that it prohibits such content
As described in a March 2015 article in the New York Times, Facebook recently updated its Community Standards, to help both its moderators and the general public to understand its ethical policies on prohibited content and groups. Here is the salient portion of its Community Standards (screencap); emphasis added:
Dangerous Organizations: What types of organizations we prohibit on Facebook.
We don’t allow any organizations that are engaged in the following to have a presence on Facebook:
* Terrorist activity, or
* Organized criminal activity.
We also remove content that expresses support for groups that are involved in the violent or criminal behavior mentioned above. Supporting or praising leaders of those same organizations, or condoning their violent activities, is not allowed.
We welcome broad discussion and social commentary on these general subjects, but ask that people show sensitivity towards victims of violence and discrimination.
By those standards, Facebook should have immediately, and permanently banned the AQNN from its site, instead of merely removing this latest “snuff” film, then leaving it active.
The reader may wish to view this February 2016 video by Monika Bickert, Facebook’s Head of Global Policy Management, in which she explains the social media giant’s efforts to prevent its pages from being used to in any way support terrorism:
The AQNN is notorious for its support for Palestinian terrorism, yet Facebook has allowed it to remain active for five and a half years
The AQNN established its Facebook page on March 25, 2011:
In the five and a half years since, Facebook has allowed the AQNN to build up a following of more than 5,000,000 followers (“likes”), an achievement about which it openly boasts in its cover photo. Here is a screencap of the AQNN page at 11:49am on September 8:
According an October 26, 2015 article in the Christian Science Monitor, the AQNN is well-known for the “snuff” videos it posts, but had only 3.8 million followers at that time:
Just three years old, Quds News boasts a Facebook page with 3.8 million likes and a Twitter account with 269,000 followers. It’s that type of social-media footprint along with so-called “snuff” footage of attacks that has raised allegations from Israelis that Palestinian social media is helping to fuel a repeating cycle of violence.
These approximate metrics were reiterated by an October 27, 2015 article in the Times of Israel – along with an indication that the group is affiliated with a US-designated terrorist organization:
Some 3.7 million Palestinians follow the Quds News Network, believed to be affiliated with (Palestinian) Islamic Jihad, on the social media platform
It is worthwhile to note that (a) under 18 U.S. Code § 2339B, it is a violation of federal law to provide “material support or resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations, and (b) the U.S. State Department classifies Palestinian Islamic Jihad as a designated foreign terrorist organization.
Yet as of September 8, the AQNN follower base had grown to 5,146,398:
This means that in a span of only eleven months, thanks to Facebook’s facilitation, the following for this notorious page has grown by 34.5%, or 1.35 million — a phenomenal growth rate for any social media platform, let alone one that habitually posts anti-Semitic hate, incitement and “snuff” videos.
Recently, Facebook permanently banned two notable public figures who merely expressed opinions about Islamist terrorism
In contrast to Facebook’s continuing tolerance of the AQNN’s clear, repeated violations of its Community Standards, it recently imposed permanent bans on several notable public figures who used words to express opinions about Islamist terrorism.
Qudosi is a devout American Muslim, advocate for reform of Islam, and the editor of the website The Qudosi Chronicles. She has been featured in various TV, radio and Internet forums about Muslim reformers, terrorism and national security.
In late August 2016, Qudosi got into an off-Facebook written exchange with another prominent Muslim, who was employing libelous intimidation tactics in an apparent effort to convince her to stop criticizing the Hamas-affiliated Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). Qudosi then posted screencaps of their exchange on her Facebook page, for the purpose of exposing the kind of retaliation that Muslim reformers face, when they stand up against groups that are documented to have ties to Islamist terrorism. She claimed that none her comments or the screencaps that she posted contained threats, vulgarity, or any the content that Facebook claims it prohibits.
Yet on August 24, 2016, according to a detailed article Qudosi wrote about her experience:
Facebook had slapped me on the wrist with a 24-hour ban for sharing my post and screen shots of the conversation. The block grew to 48 hours, and by the end of the second day I was banned from Facebook.
Soon after, she appeared on Fox Business Network’s Varney & Co. to discuss the matter – after which Facebook restored Qudosi’s account.
Dr. Jonathan Spyer
Dr. Spyer earned his Ph.D. in International Relations from the London School of Economics and a Master’s Degree in Middle East Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. His writings about the violence in Syria, and the broader threat of radical Islam, has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, the Weekly Standard, and elsewhere. (Note: This bio was summarized from here)
On August 12, 2016, Spyer posted an article on his website:
Recently my Facebook profile, on which I was connected to around 5000 people, was closed down by Facebook. This has had some impact on my ability to do my job as a researcher and journalist, tho I have since managed to repair much of the damage. However, the process by which the profile was destroyed is interesting and may be informative regarding the practices of Facebook with regard to the issue of freedom of expression on the site.
The last posting which I made on my profile related to recent events in Europe. I wrote that I considered the wave of terror attacks in Germany and France to indicate that a ‘low level Islamist insurgency’ was now taking place in those countries. A few hours after placing this posting, my account was ‘disabled.’
I wrote to the appropriate Facebook address asking for clarification on this. A few days later, on July 29, I received an email from someone called ‘Justin’ saying (STW added emphasis):
“We have reviewed your account, and have determined that it is contrary to the Declaration of Rights and Responsibilities of Facebook. Due to the violation of these terms, we have permanently deleted your account.
“One of the main priorities of Facebook is the safety of Facebook users. Credible threats to harm others, support for violent organizations or extreme graphic content are not allowed on Facebook.”
I am placing this post here so that readers will be aware of the apparent parameters of free speech at Facebook. I have never expressed support for ‘violent organizations’ on my page, other than support for the armed forces of the state of which I am a citizen, Israel, and perhaps also a general support for the Kurdish-led, western-backed forces fighting the Sunni jihadis of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
We had never heard of Facebook’s “Declaration of Rights and Responsibilities,” so we looked it up (here), and surmise that its justification for banning Dr. Spyer was an alleged violation of Section 3, which defines the activities in which users must not engage, including (emphasis added):
(7) You will not post content that: is hate speech, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.
(9) You will not use Facebook to do anything unlawful, misleading, malicious, or discriminatory.
The Daily Caller covered the story here.
Soon after, Facebook reinstated Dr. Spyer’s account.
More examples of Facebook enabling Palestinian terrorism supporters to incite and glorify anti-Semitic murder
On September 6, 2016, Israeli Prime Minister Benajamin Netanyahu posted on Twitter a screencap of a Facebook post by Fatah, the notorious* Palestinian terrorism-inciting political party, that claimed the Palestinian terrorists who murdered eleven Jewish athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics had perpetrated “a heroic operation”:
[*Fatah is a Palestinian political organization that is headed by Mahmoud Abbas. Under Abbas’s rule, for more than a decade, Fatah has been using Western aid money to indoctrinate children to want to murder Jews, and to incite, glorify and financially reward terrorism against Israel.]
Although Facebook ultimately removed this post, it left Fatah’s Facebook page active.
In the following days, Fatah continued posting materials on Facebook that glorifies terrorism against Jews, and contain claims that those who engage in such acts are “martyrs”:
Glorifying Abdel Mohsen Hassouna
Note: As of September 25, 2016 this post is still published (screencap).
On September 7, 2016 Facebook permitted Fatah to post this tribute to the Abdel Mohsen Hassouna. Although it isn’t clear from the Facebook translation what caused Fatah to glorify him as a “martyr,” the Daily Mail (UK) provided a detailed description of why Houssana’s attempt to murder 14 Jews in December 2015:
Palestinian rams car into Jerusalem bus stop, shot dead: police, by AFP, Daily Mail (UK), December 14, 2015.
A Palestinian attacker drove a car into Israelis at a Jerusalem bus stop on Monday injuring 14 people before being shot dead, police and rescue services said. “Terrorist attack at the entrance of Jerusalem minutes ago,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld tweeted. “Terrorist drove vehicle into bus stop at entrance of city. Terrorist shot at scene.”
Police said the Palestinian assailant, 21-year-old Abdul Mohsen Hassouna from Beit Hanina in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, had died, while Israel’s medical services said none of the victims’ injuries were life-threatening.
Glorifying Ahmad Camel
Note: As of September 25, 2016 this post is still published (screencap).
On September 8, 2016 Facebook permitted Fatah to post this tribute to Ahmad Camel. The Facebook translation indicates that Camel was a “shahid (martyr) commander… a founder of the armed cells in the west bank in the first intifada,” who was killed on September 9, 1991. [The First Intifada was the Palestinians’ first widespread, government-sponsored terrorism campaign against Jews, which lasted from 1987-1992. An estimated 200 Jews were murdered during this terror campaign, and more than 1,000 were injured.]
Apparently, Camel’s proficiency in murdering Jews (or his intent to) became so notable that the Palestinians created this graphic of him, firing an AK-47 atop a pool of blood.
Glorifying Palestinians who murder Jews by running them over with cars
Note: As of September 25, 2016 this post is still published (screencap).
On September 6, 2016 Facebook allowed Fatah to post this graphic cartoon, which clearly depicts a Palestinian driving a car over dead Jews, on his way to the entrance of a suggested Palestinian state:
This cartoon is especially notable, as Fatah and the broader Palestinian government encouraged Palestinians to use kill Jews via car-ramming attacks, throughout the Fall of 2015, during the Third Intifada. At least 34 Jews were murdered in this manner, and many more were injured. Further, the Palestinians reveled in being hailed as the innovators of using cars to run down civilians, after the Nice, France incident in which an ISIS terrorist used a to do the same.
Yet here, Facebook is enabling Fatah to once again encourage a new murder spree against Jews via this terror tactic – and this post remained published as of September 12, 2016:
How to make your voice known to Facebook management
If you’d like to express your views on the matters documented in this report to Facebook’s management, see the contact information below. Please be polite and concise.
General complaint form
Facebook Senior Management
Mark Zuckerberg: Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Monika Bickert: Head of Global Policy Management
1601 Willow Rd
Menlo Park, CA, 94025
Facebook’s Board of Directors
Facebook Board of Directors
c/o Corporate Secretary
1601 Willow Road
Menlo Park, CA 94025
The following items provide additional information to the content cited in this report, and are broken down by category.
Facebook policy statements
Facebook Clarifies Rules on What It Bans and Why, The New York Times, March 16, 2015.
About the Al Quds News Network (AQNN)
Palestinian uprising: Upstart website feeds youth the news they want: Quds News Network’s mix of breaking news and lots of video appeals to a generation of Palestinians inspired by the idea of a new uprising against Israel, by Joshua Mitnick, Christian Science Monitor, October 26, 2015.
Mideast:’citizen journalists’ behind success of Al-Quds News; Most followed network in West Bank, by Michele Monni, ANSAmed, November 2, 2015.
Facebook banning notable public commenters on terrorism
Un-Facebooked, by Dr. Jonathan Spyer, JonathanSpyer.com, August 12, 2016.
Facebook Bans Respected Journalist For Mentioning The Threat Of Islam, by Jonah Bennett, The Daily Caller, August 18, 2016.
Facebook Banned Me for Criticizing Islamists, But I Got the Last Laugh, by Shireen Qudosi, CounterJihad.com, September 2, 2016.
Efforts to expose and combat Facebook’s enabling of Palestinian incitement and terrorism
Presented in chronological order:
Lakin v. Facebook, lawsuit by the Israel Law Center, October 26, 2015.
20,000 Israelis sue Facebook for ignoring Palestinian incitement: Class-action suit filed in Brooklyn requires social network to immediately remove all posts ‘containing incitement to murder Jews’, Times of Israel, October 27, 2015.
Facebook Is Being Sued by 20,000 Israelis for Inciting Palestinian Terror, by Harriet Salem, VICE News, October 27, 2015.
$1 Billion Lawsuit Accuses Facebook of Enabling Palestinian Attacks, by Fortune Magazine (via Reuters), July 11, 2016.
Facebook officials visit Israel amid incitement claims: Aim of delegation is to increase cooperation against social media posts that lead to terror, Netanyahu says, by Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, September 11, 2016.
Facebook is imposing prissy American censorship on the whole rest of the world, by Jane Fae, The Telegraph (UK), September 12, 2016.
‘Facebook removed 95% of terror incitement requested by Israel’, by Lahav Harkov, The Jerusalem Post, September 12, 2016.