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Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and ADL Announce Lab to Engineer New Solutions to Stop Cyberhate

New York, NY -  Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter and other leading technology companies are joining with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism and hate of all kinds, to establish a Cyberhate Problem-Solving Lab to counter the growing amount of hate speech online. Engaging engineers and focused on technical solutions, the companies and ADL will collaborate to exchange ideas, investigate areas of common risk and opportunity, and seek to devise new approaches to identify and address cyberhate.
This strategy builds on recent models where leading companies have cooperated on large-scale issues of the public interest, such as addressing terrorism content online, by leveraging their collective resources and ideas. Each company will draw on these best practices to inform its approach to hate speech online. ADL will convene, advise on policy considerations, and offer insight on how hate and extremist content manifests – and constantly evolves – online.
“For all its promise, the Internet unfortunately has become a space where perpetrators of hate reach new recruits, harass and intimidate minorities, and spew hateful ideologies,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said. “As some of the most popular platforms, these companies have an added responsibility to do everything within their power to stop hate from flourishing on their watch. ADL has worked in partnership with leading technology companies for many years, and we look forward to tackling this pressing challenge together.”
The initiative will be managed by ADL’s Center for Technology and Society in Silicon Valley, which leads cyberhate issues and advocacy for the League.
“Building a global community that is safe and supportive means engineering new solutions to solve new problems,” said Monika Bickert, head of global policy management at Facebook. “We work hard to create a safe environment on Facebook, which is why we're excited to be expanding upon our partnership with the Anti-Defamation League to establish a Cyberhate Problem-Solving Lab. Along with other tech companies, some of the best minds in engineering will work alongside the ADL, an organization with a long track record of fighting bigotry and defending free expression, to help us rise to the occasion.”
“We believe meaningful progress in safety measures and policies can best be informed in partnership with others, so we’ll continue to collaborate with leading advocacy organizations, like ADL, to work towards solutions,” said Colin Crowell, VP of public policy and philanthropy at Twitter. “We are committed to making the Twitter experience safe, secure, and enjoyable for everyone."
The Anti-Defamation League has been working with leading technology companies such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter to address the problem of online hate while at the same time respecting free speech. Together, ADL and the companies have devised and implemented strategies to counter the proliferation of hate speech online.
This collaborative work led to ADL’s 2014 Best Practices for Challenging Cyberhate, which established guidelines for the tech industry to help prevent the spread of online hate speech.
Since Greenblatt became CEO in July 2015, ADL’s focus on combatting cyber hate has expanded dramatically. This new lab partnership is the organization’s latest advancement in its effort to address the cutting-edge of hate in America today.
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Ahead of 1 Billion Lawsuit, First National Online Campaign Accuses Facebook of Inciting Terrorism

NEW YORK,  An Israel-based civil rights organization launched its first-ever online campaign in the U.S. today to build public support for a pair of major lawsuits against the social media giant, with a provocative video leveling unprecedented charges that Facebook is inciting terrorism around the world.

The campaign, featuring a YouTube video (https://youtu.be/YfDSjoJDuxE) by Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center, comes after the recent stabbing and car-ramming attack by an Ohio State University student, when investigators exposed the attacker’s Facebook rant urging people to follow the slain al-Qaida leader Anwar al-Awlaki.

That attack and video underscore Shurat HaDin’s lawsuits against Facebook, Cohen v. Facebook and Force v. Facebook, which are pending before Judge Nicholas Garafufis in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn. A hearing to decide whether those cases can proceed to trial is scheduled for January 19, 2017.


The video, “Who’s Behind Terror? Rewind!,” inspired by the movie “Memento,” opens with a slow-motion replay of a terrorist bomb attack in New York City, then rewinds time 10 minutes, then two hours, then 24 hours, then three months, to show the key moments when Facebook helped incite the terrorist to act.

“Facebook and other social media platforms have become a crucial component for international terror, the same as guns, bombs and money,” said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the founder of Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center. “For years now, Facebook has continued to provide a platform for terrorist incitement despite repeated warnings. This has become one of today’s top global threats. Social media platforms want to believe terror has nothing to do with them and that they have unlimited immunity and can do whatever they want. We are going to put an end to it.”

Shurat HaDin’s first case against Facebook, Cohen v. Facebook, was filed in 2015 on behalf of 20,000 Israelis during the first weeks of the so-called “stabbing intifada,” after two Palestinians armed with a knife and gun attacked passengers on an Israeli bus. The case was originally named Lakin v. Facebook, but the case name was changed after one of the victims, Richard Lakin, succumbed to his wounds.

In this case, Shurat HaDin seeks to shut down terrorist pages on Facebook not because of their content but because by allowing this content, Facebook allegedly facilitates terrorism by providing services to terrorists. The case seeks an injunction forcing Facebook to actively monitor and block such pages, similarly to how banks block transactions with known terrorists.

In a second lawsuit, Force v. Facebook, Shurat HaDin seeks $1 billion in damages on behalf the families of five Israeli victims of the terrorist group Hamas. This case, under the U.S. Antiterrorism Act, charges Facebook with providing material support and resources to Hamas – which the U.S. has designated a “foreign terrorist organization” – in the form of Facebook services that the group used in carrying out terrorist actions.

“It is shocking that one could not transfer even one dollar to Hamas because banks know not to permit transactions with terrorists, but Hamas and known Hamas officials can open Facebook pages, and use Facebook to recruit terrorists and aggrandize terrorism,” said attorney Robert J. Tolchin, who represents the plaintiffs in Brooklyn as the local counsel for Shurat HaDin.

“Facebook’s sophisticated platform and services are used by terrorists for communication, logistics, intelligence, fundraising and even prestige,” Shurat HaDin said in filing the first lawsuit. “Facebook has the data and the capability to cease providing services to terrorists, and it has chosen not to do so.”



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Spotlight on Iran - Support for Syria comes to Facebook :supporters of Iran’s military involvement in Syria increase their social network presence

ITIC, In the past several months, elements affiliated with the Iranian regime have considerably stepped up their Facebook activity in a public relations move to spread a message of support for the Iranian military involvement in Syria.
The activity is gathering momentum as more and more reports are being released by Iranian media on the broad support of the Qods Force-led Revolutionary Guards for the Syrian regime and on Revolutionary Guards fighters killed in battles with the rebel forces in Syria. Those fighters are usually referred to as “defenders of Zainab’s Mosque”, referring to a mosque situated in a southern suburb of Damascus which in Shi’ite tradition is the final resting place of Imam Ali’s daughter.
As of this writing, there are approximately ten active Facebook pages dedicated to the fighting in Syria from the perspective of the Iranian fighters taking part in it. The content posted on the social network includes:


1. Reports on the fighting between the Syrian regime and its allies from Iran and Arab countries on one hand and the rebels on the other, with an emphasis on the achievements made by the regime and its supporters.
2. Anti-rebel PR content focusing on the rebels’ involvement in terrorist activities against civilians.
3. PR content that includes press reports and cartoons against countries allegedly supporting the rebels, mainly the United States, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Israel.
4. Details on commanders fighting for the rebel army.
5. Reports (mostly photographs) on fighters from Iran, Hezbollah, and Arab countries involved in the fighting against the rebels.
6. Extensive reports on losses incurred by fighters from Iran, Hezbollah, and Arab countries fighting alongside the Syrian regime in combat with the rebels. The reports include information on the fighters’ death circumstances, eulogies, and details on their funeral ceremonies.
7. Religious Islamic content accompanied by photographs of Zainab’s Mosque in Damascus and Shi’ite-oriented encouragement for the fighters.
In addition to the activity of the supporters of the Iranian involvement in Syria, its critics, too, maintain a presence on the social network, albeit on a smaller scale. The focus of their activity is a Facebook page titled “Solidarity with the Syrian people: Iranians support the Syrian popular revolution” (www.facebook.com/Iran.Syria), which contains reports on the Syrian regime’s activity against the rebels that emphasize its use of chemical weapons and the casualties sustained by innocent civilians, as well as reports on the achievements made by the rebels in their fight against the regime.
The dissemination of content dedicated to the fighting in Syria by Iranian elements fits into the growing cyberspace presence of regime supporters. In recent years, activists of the Revolutionary Guards’ Basij force known as “soft war soldiers” have created hundreds of websites, blogs, and Facebook pages with the objective of spreading online content that reflects the views of the regime.
The extensive public relations activity on the social network in support of the Iranian military involvement in Syria may be indicative of a deliberate policy pursued by the Iranian regime and the Revolutionary Guards to get Iranian public opinion support for the ongoing fighting in Syria and curb any possible criticism that might be provoked by the increasing reports on the losses suffered by the Iranian forces sent to fight alongside the Syrian regime. It is not inconceivable that the increased scope of the PR effort on the military involvement in Syria since July 2013 also reflects concerns harbored by the Revolutionary Guards over a possible change in the policy of the new Rowhani-led administration with regard to such involvement.

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