Is Israel violating Twitter’s Terms of Service? (and other stupid questions)

Voices, otherwise bullish on free speech online, are all for censoring the Israel-Hamas social media flame war

Israel and Hamas, whilst lobbing rockets at each other, are also engaged in a social media flame war. Each side is live-blogging, live-vlogging, and live-tweeting the escalating conflict. By now, this should surprise no-one, but punditry is agog: Jon Mitchell at ReadWriteWeb calls the IDF’s gamified blog “atrocious” and “horrendous,” Katie Notopolous at BuzzFeed calls these Instagram self-shots of Israeli soldiers “surreal,” and Jeff Sonderman at Poynter asserts that the Israeli military has “become its own media.”

Pundits, please. War is atrocious—the IDF’s blog, which gives users silly virtual badges in return for sharing its messages—is just tasteless.  The “surreal” Instagram pics, many of which seem to have been taken before the current conflict, depict teenage soldiers performing mandatory service and trying to relax while knowing that at any moment they may have to risk their lives. As for the Israeli military “becoming its own media,” let’s be clear: propaganda and war go hand and hand. There’s nothing new about the IDF telling their side of the story through every available means. That doesn’t mean that they have become the media. Verifying, analyzing and balancing this account remains the work of journalists, professional or otherwise.

Things get sillier. Mike Isaac at AllThingsD wonders whether Israel’s declarations of war are “within the bounds of the Twitter and Facebook Terms of Service.” The Atlantic actually engages with this question, pointing out that the Alqassam Brigade’s tweeted supervillain promise that their “blessed hands” will find Israeli soldiers, who have “opened Hell Gates” on themselves, might also be a TOS violation.  (The Alqassam Brigade has yet to tweet back “OMG GTFO!!”).  Others have taken up the question as well, and the idea that Twitter and Facebook should ban the war messages of one side or another is gaining momentum.

The only shocking thing here is how quickly some voices, otherwise bullish on free speech online, are suggesting that information be blocked from their sensitive eyes. Both sides of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict have maintained for decades that the mainstream media is hopelessly biased in favour of the other.  At the very least, the level playing field of the Internet equalizes this part of the fight. Through social media, without editing or varnishing from newsroom interlocutors, the words and pictures issued from both sides are offensive, shocking, manipulative, saddening, graphic, bizarre and awful as this endless war itself.

Follow Jesse on Twitter @JesseBrown 




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Is Israel violating Twitter’s Terms of Service? (and other stupid questions)

  1. Amazing how we’re always keen to go to war, but we don’t want to face the reality of what we do.

    • Muammar Gaddafi was pushing other Arab countries to adopt a gold standard currency which would have eclipsed the dollar and the euro.

      So the whole country of Libya was sacked in order to kill him.

      When the ‘rebels’ ousted Gaddafi, what was the first thing they did ? Form a new GOVERNMENT ?

      Nope. They formed a LIBYAN NATIONAL BANK.

      Now, why would they do that?

      And even though they ‘ousted’ Gaddafi, he remained sole proprietor of the Libyan National Bank (the original one) until he (and his heirs) died.

      So… guess what?

      The EUSSR needed Libya’s oil and since they have been on US military welfare since WW2, they had their dupe Sodom Hussein Obama arrange the assassination of their newly uncooperative stooge Muammar Queerdaffy, who they previously had on the UN Human Rights Commission.

      In Syria, nobody wants to get openly involved because it would force them to admit that George Bush was right and the WMDs Saddam Hussein did have and did use on Kurds and Iranians went over to his friend (and formerly theirs) Bashar al-Assad in the Ba’ath Socialist party.

      The EUSSR socialists can never face the facts of what socialism really is.

      Smuggling guns to narcoterrorists in Mexico is the same modus operandi as smuggling guns to the Salafist terror groups in Syria…

      The deliberate indifference to the planned assassination of US ambassador Stevens just eliminated one loose end.

      Leon Puñettas was just too busy having gay pride celebrations at the Pentagon and couldn’t spare the troops to protect an ambassador…

      (Serbia was bombed by NATO so the IMF could make loans to rebuild and get control of the iridium assets.)

      It is never about human rights at all with these people, it is all about who controls.

      • ‘These people’ are exactly the same as you.

        • If the Iranians nuke Israel, the Palestinians also die in the fallout.

          It is a win/win situation for me, because I don’t like any of them…

          • Israel has nukes, Iran doesn’t.

            And you are simply ignorant.

          • Iran is building an atomic bomb… that doesn’t bother me…

            The Israelis phucked up when they let the Palestinian trash back into their country after having them exiled and stranded in the Jordanian desert.

            I’m not on anyone’s side.

            Antagonists on both sides profit from further conflict, as do you fake progressive “human rights” advocates.

            I’d happily bury you all in the same hole so there is peace at last.

          • Talk to your therapist, because I’m not interested in racist ignorance.

          • This comment was deleted.

          • Like I said, talk to your therapist becaue I’m not interested in your batshit crazy views.

          • Go get yourself a large rubber phallus, have fun…

            You people all believe your weenies come from heaven and that this gives you some sanctified right to pass your collection plate at gunpoint for the gods of communism (yourselves).

            I introduce a little anarchy, upset the established order and everything become chaos…

            I’m an agent of chaos, and you know what they say about chaos?

            It’s fair.

          • Well what I COULD do, is report you for abuse on here….but really you’re in need of help.

            You aren’t an ‘agent of chaos’, your mind is in chaos.

            See a doctor.

          • You vill report me to zee gestapo?

          • Communism has no more to do with socialism than capitalism has to do with freedom…

          • A fascist is just a communist in a hurry.

      • Dude, you are one sick puppy, I am not even sure therapy could unwind the bulls*it propaganda that is tangled up in your head.

        • You people all believe the same thing… 

          You all believe your weenies come from heaven and that this gives you some sanctified right to pass your collection plate at gunpoint for the gods of communism (yourselves).

          Your morals, your code, it’s a bad joke dropped at the first sign of trouble… You’re only as good as the world allows you to be. 

          When the chips are down, you “civilized” people will eat each other. 

          You see, I’m not a monster, I’m just ahead of the curve.

          You have all these rules and you think they’ll “save” you, when the only sensible way to live in this world is without rules.

          I already told you, I’m not here to “save” anybody… I’m like a dog chasing cars, I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it…

          You’re a schemer, a schemer trying to control your little world… I’m not a schemer, I try to show you schemers how pathetic your attempts to control things really are.

          I introduce a little anarchy, upset the established order and everything becomes chaos.

          I’m an agent of chaos… And you know the thing about chaos?

          It’s fair…

          Nobody panics when things go according to plan, even if the plan is horrifying.

          If I were to tell the press millions of Americans would be blown up by an Iranian nut job or that Democrats have stolen their entire life savings with bailouts and Obamacare, nobody panics because it is all part of the plan…

          But if I say a few homosexuals in San Francisco are upset over their little wee wees, why, everyone just loses their minds!

  2. The Israelis phucked up when they let the Palestinian trash back into their country after having them exiled and stranded in the Jordanian desert.

    I’m not on anyone’s side.

    If the Iranians nuke Israel, the Palestinians also die in the fallout.

    It is a win/win situation for me, because I don’t like any of them…

    If the atomic bomb is the only thing that keeps the peace, then like the Ozzy Osbourne song says: “thank God for the Bomb.”

  3. They’re having such a good time killing people!

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