Knesset Bill Would Allow Social Media To Be Sued For Unfair Censorship, Require Accountability

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JERUSALEM (VINnews) — A group of right-wing MKs have submitted a bill to the Knessett calling for social media companies like Facebook to be held accountable for all content on their sites and to be sued for any unfair censorship. The media sites will have to provide clear explanations for why they are removing or blocking certain types of content and they will be subject to laws against discrimination like any public service in Israel.

The initiative comes from MKs Galit Distal-Atbarian (Likud) Shlomo Kari (Likud) and Amichai Shikli (Yemina). Distal Atbarian, who recently found her Facebook traffic significantly reduced without any explanation from Facebook Israel, said that “the phenomenon of blocking and silencing right-wing figures online has grown to alarming proportions and is severely harming freedom of speech. It is our duty as public appointees to protect the basic right of people to express themselves in accordance with the law.”

MK Simcha Rothman (Religious Zionism) also joined the proposal and said that “the social media present themselves as an ‘open forum’ but in fact they force their political viewpoint without any transparency and by deceiving all of their users. Unfortunately, these violations, both in Israel and abroad, generally favor the left side of the political map and attempt to foist the views prevalent in Silicon Valley on all of us. The new law will require the social media to declare their blocking policies and will allow those harmed by violations of these rules to sue for damages in Israel based on Israeli law.”

MK Itamar Gvir (Religious Zionism) submitted a similar bill for compensation from Facebook for those harmed by its actions. Ben-Gvir said that “Facebook has crossed all red lines and it is time to act against them. Facebook silences the public, prevents freedom of speech and interfered with the elections in Israel and abroad. I will not forget or forgive for the morning when I found my wife weeping because Facebook had erased her Whatsapp account with all the memories of her sister who passed away young.”

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