Facebook suspends Netanyahu’s page over “hate speech”

Facebook suspends Netanyahu’s page over “hate speech”

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Facebook has suspended Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's page chatbot – or automated chat function – for 24 hours, citing a violation of its hate speech policy.

Facebook's statement: "After careful review of the Likud campaign's bot activities, we found a violation of our hate speech policy. We also found that the bot was misusing the platform in the time period allowed to contact people. As a result, we temporarily suspended the bot for 24 hours. Should there be any additional violations, we will continue to take appropriate action," said a Facebook spokesperson in a statement, reports France 24.

How we got here: The move follows a post from Netanyahu's account which urged voters to steer clear of a government of “Arabs who want to destroy us all – women, children, and men – and allow a nuclear Iran that will kill us," in a jab against the opposing party. The message appeared on Netanyahu’s official page, the Likud online campaign, and was subsequently removed after mounting criticism, reports The Times of Israel.

Joint List leader Ayman Odeh said that they asked Facebook to take steps against the "racist and dangerous incitement by Netanyahu against the Arab population."

The response: Netanyahu’s party described the incident as a "mistake," made by a campaign staffer.

“[The message] was a mistake by a worker at the campaign headquarters. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu didn’t see these things [and] did not approve them. They are not his opinion and are not accepted by him. When these things were brought to his attention, he asked that they be removed immediately."

Netanyahu also denied that he wrote the message in an interview with Kan Reshet Bet radio. “I have friends in Arab countries and have respect for all people," he said.

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