On October 26, 2015, Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center filed an unprecedented lawsuit against Facebook on behalf of some 20,000 Israelis to stop allowing Palestinian terrorists to incite violent attacks against Israeli citizens and Jews on its internet platform. The Complaint seeks an injunction against Facbeook requiring it to monitor incitement and to respond immediately to complaints about inciting content.
The Complaint was filed in response to a wave of terror attacks beginning in October 2015 by which Palestinians attacked people with knives, axes, screwdrivers, cars and Molotov cocktails for no reason other than a perception by the attacker that the victims are Jewish. Many of these attackers were motivated to commit their heinous crimes by incitement to murder and the glorification of violence against innocent civilians they read on Facebook. 76 year old Richard Lakin, the lead plaintiff in the case, was brutally attacked by two such Palestinian terrorists, as he rode Bus 78 in Jerusalem’s Armon HaNatziv neighborhood on October 13, 2015. He was left with life threatening injuries after being shot in the head and stabbed in the stomach and died of his wounds two weeks later. The 20,000 Israelis that joined the lawsuit all live in fear of their personal safety and security as a result of this violent incitement and want to see Facebook change its policies.
The Complaint alleges that Facebook is much more than neutral internet platform or a mere “publisher” of speech because its algorithms connect the terrorists to the inciters. Facebook actively assists the inciters to find people who are interested in acting on their hateful messages by offering friend, group and event suggestions and targeting advertising based on people’s online “likes” and internet browsing history. Additionally, Facebook often refuses to take down the inciting pages, claiming that they do not violate its “community standards.” Calling on people to commit crimes is not constitutionally protected speech and endangers the lives of Jews and Israelis. Shurat HaDin will pursue the claims against Facebook on behalf of its 20,0000 clients until Facebook makes it will not allow itself to serve as a tool for terrorists to transmit their rabble rousing messages to their followers and that incitement to anti-Semitic violence will not be tolerated on its website.