NY Jewish Week: Internet Activist No Friend Of Facebook

(NY Jewish Week) The founder of a pro-Israel online action group says Facebook is unfairly singling him out for account deactivation.

According to Facebook’s terms of services, members of the social networking site can only maintain usernames that contain accurate information, including their real names. But David Appletree of the Jewish Internet Defense Force, who will not say if that is his true surname, says he’s being targeted while Facebook turns a blind eye to other users who likewise fail to comply with this rule.

“Of all the 200 million members on

Facebook they’re singling me out because I’m a big Jewish activist and they don’t like my views,” he said. Appletree maintains approximately 40 different Facebook groups that combat anti-Semitism and
terrorism, with combined memberships in the hundreds of thousands.

He believes that the decision to dismantle
his account on YomKippur was yet another implication of bias. And on his own Web site, he warns other Jewish organizations that they too may become targets because they violate the same name rules – Facebook users like Lubavitch-Chabad Worldwide orChai-Lifeline

Meanwhile, he says, Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg is hardly proactive about combating anti-Semitism on its Web site, which hosts groups that blatantly deny both the Holocaust and Israel’s existences.

“Their rules are that you can’t post hateful material, but there are all these groups that promote Holocaust denial, anti-Semitism or terrorism,” Appletree said.

In an e-mail to The Jewish Week, Facebook spokesman Simon Axten wrote: “Facebook has always been based on a real name culture ... This leads to greater accountability and a safer and more trusted environment for our users. We apply these rules universally across all 300 million people who use Facebook. Any claim of anti-Semitism is thus both wrong and insulting.”

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