Facebook Inserting Itself into Middle East Conflict?
Since the state of Israel was established in 1948, the country’s borders have been constantly changing with every war and peace agreement. The West Bank and Gaza strip have been particularly sensitive areas, with a lot of fighting and uncertainty.
However, in Facebook’s attempt to assign a network to the people living in the West Bank, it automatically assigned them to the Palestine network – a pretty bold move.
As one could imagine, pinpointing an entire region as Palestine did not sit very well. Every person in Israel defines themselves differently depending on their background, family, and religion. To label an entire region of people with such different backgrounds and identities seems to go way beyond Facebook’s goal of being a “social utility that connects you with the people around you.”
David Shamah, a reporter for the Jerusalem Post writes, “I think it’s very unfair of Facebook to take sides in an ongoing dispute by making official (the creation of a state called Palestine), something that the United Nations has not even decided on yet.”
After receiving a lot of complaints and being accused of having a political agenda, Facebook has now started to allow people living in these areas to chose whether they’re listed as being a resident of Israel or Palestine.