`Third Intifada` page spiked over violence: Facebook

"Third Intifada" page, which had almost 500,000 fans, was closed on Tuesday.

Last Updated: Apr 01, 2011, 10:54 AM IST

Jerusalem: Facebook shut down a page calling for a "Third Intifada" against Israel after a surge in comments calling for violence, the company said in a letter sent to an Israeli minister on Thursday.

The "Third Intifada" page, which had almost 500,000 fans, was closed on Tuesday, just days after Public Diplomacy Minister Yuli Edelstein sent a letter to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, urging him to shut it down over its "wild incitement”.

The Facebook letter, which was released by Edelstein`s office, said that initially the page was tolerated because it "began as a call for peaceful protest”, and moderators removed comments that promoted violence.

"However, after the publicity of the Page more comments deteriorated to direct calls for violence. Eventually, the administrators also participated in these calls," the letter said.

"After administrators of the page received repeated warnings about posts that violated our policies, we removed the Page yesterday," said the letter, signed by Richard Allan, Facebook`s director of policy.

The social networking site said that in general it was loath to take down pages that expressed criticism, believing in free speech.

But "when they degrade to direct calls for violence or expressions of hate -- as occurred in this case -- we have and will continue to take them down."

The page, created on March 06, called for a third intifada, or uprising against the Israeli occupation, to begin on May 15 -- the date marked by Israel as its official independence anniversary but marked by Palestinians as the "Naqba" -- or catastrophe.

Facebook said it was aware that several copycat sites had since sprung up and it was monitoring them.

The first intifada began in December 1987 with rock throwing, protests and civil disobedience and lasted until the 1993 Oslo peace accords. A second and far bloodier intifada broke out in 2000 and eventually ran out of steam some five years later.

Bureau Report