At a hearing for a class action lawsuit against Facebook for incitement by Israeli victims of terrorism, Judge Nicholas Garaufis accuses Facebook of not doing enough to stop incitement and not taking global terrorism seriously enough.
A federal judge in New York scolded Facebook Thursday night and said the social media giant has not done enough to discourage terrorists from using its platform.
The comments were made in the New York District Court during a hearing on a class-action lawsuit filed against Facebook on behalf of 20,000 Israelis for incitement and encouraging violence. The plaintiffs sought to prove that Facebook doesn’t implement the same measures against blatant incitement against Israelis, while allowing Palestinians to continue with inflammatory statements unabatedly.
During the hearing, Judge Nicholas Garaufis accused Facebook of not taking global terrorism and the killing of innocent people seriously enough. The judge also harshly criticized Facebook for sending an associate to the hearing, saying, “I think it’s shocking, irresponsible and insulting.” The judge ordered Facebook to send a more senior attorney to the hearing scheduled for the 28th of September, saying, “I want to talk to someone who can speak with the senior management of Facebook.”
The judge is currently involved in two different suits against Facebook that were filed by civil rights organization Shurat HaDin — the Israel Law Center. One is a class action lawsuit against Facebook and the other is a damages claim of a $1 billion against Facebook. The judge said that despite these claims being problematic, as American law exempts content published by individuals from liability, it does not mean Facebook doesn’t need to take the issue seriously.
“Let’s put the law aside and talk about reality,” said the judge. “Less than a week ago a bomb exploded in the Chelsea neighborhood in Manhattan and wounded 29 people, and the reality is that these people were communicating via social media, whether it be Facebook or Google, and as a result of that communication, there is a potentially dangerous situation that can cause damage in terms of international terrorism.”