Following are excerpts from a report on Sky News Arabia TV on terrorist organizations on Facebook, which aired on December 14, 2012:
Reporter: Facebook has shut down the pages of Hizbullah and Taliban, justifying this step by classifying both as terrorist groups. Some social network sites, based in the U.S., are trying to avoid sanctions by the U.S. government, which has warned against dealing with any group they describe as “terrorist.” Some say that this is a violation of freedom of thought, and freedom of expression over the Internet. Most of the big social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, are open to all.
Social networking expert Guy Stanley: Most of the big social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, are open to all. You cannot punish companies because of the users of their sites. I do not think that the U.S. government has the right to prevent anyone from expressing their opinion. This decision treats Americans like children, telling them what they can and cannot listen to.
Reporter: Sky News Arabia tried to contact Facebook, which responded by email: Facebook has rules against the spread of hate speech and terrorism, and a department devoted to the fight against this phenomenon. A study shows that 90% of the activities of some extremist groups take place via social network websites. How can social networks deal with such organizations, and do they have the right to shut down their pages?
MEMRI research fellow Mansour Al-Hadj: Social network sites impose certain rules, and if the content violates those rules, they have the right to shut down these pages. These are American websites calling, for example, for the boycotting of American products. They are acting as if the end justifies the means.