Netanyahu blocks ‘Facebook bill’ in the name of freedom of expression

Netanyahu halted a bill aimed at fighting incitement on the Internet out of concern it limits freedom of expression. 

By: World Israel News Staff 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blocked Wednesday the passage into law of the “Facebook bill” which sought to require online media providers to remove content considered incitement to terrorism.

A Likud spokesman was quoted by numerous media sources as saying that the prime minister’s move was motivated by a “concern for freedom of expression.”

The spokesman added that Israelis should be allowed to articulate criticism online freely. Instead, preventing incitement to terrorism on the Internet would be the focus of any legislation in this vein.

The spokesman said that the legislation which the premier blocked is liable to invite an overly broad interpretation that facilitates censorship. It would have enabled posts to be removed from Facebook without the author of the post being given a chance to defend the post.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan both supported the legislation which Netanyahu torpedoed.

If not for Netanyahu’s intervention, the bill would have likely passed. Wednesday is the last day of the Knesset Spring session before it takes a recess for the Summer.