Popular social networking hub Facebook has decided to delete any pages associated with Al-Manar, the pro-terrorist television station broadcasted from Lebanon, or terrorist group Hezbollah.
In a similar move, Google and Apple recently disabled any applications affiliated with either group, effectively banning streaming Al-Manar videos, as provided by the Al-Manar TV app.
Al-Manar has been banned by the United States since December 2004, as well as by Spain, France, Germany, and parts of Lebanon. Licensing problems (though not government-enforced bans) prevent the station from broadcasting in Canada, Australia, or the Netherlands.
At first, Facebook refused to give comment on the situation, but in a statement to online publication The Daily Dot, confirmed “that the Hezbollah page has been disabled.”
“Under our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities,” said Facebook’s represenatatives, “we do not allow content that ‘incites violence,’ and to help keep our site safe, we use the State Department List of Foreign Terror Organizations to help make determinations of which groups may be involved in the promotion of violence. Due to Hezbollah’s appearance on the list, they have been removed from the site.”
A number of Al-Manar Facebook pages were deleted, but no one knows the exact number. The pages serving as a meeting place for terrorism supporters from around the world got close to 41,000 Facebook likes!
An unspecified Israeli radio report announced Facebook’s removal of Hezbollah pages this past Thursday. Al-Manar, known for spreading propaganda to publicize terrorism, recently tried to open their own Facebook page without being noticed.
Another popular social network, Twitter, has thus far decided to not ban Hezbollah, reported The Jewish Daily Forward. Steven Stalinsky, executive director of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), says Twitter is violating the United States anti-terrorism statutes. Whether Twitter is on the wrong side of the law or not, Ken Paulson, president of the CEO of the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University, said that to force Twitter to become anti-Hezbollah “would be an uphill battle.” Twitter lets opinions of all sorts be heard and sees no reason to shut down the pro-terrorism accounts.