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Facebook changes Golan policy

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JERUSALEM (JTA) — Changes to Facebook will allow residents of the Golan Heights to register themselves as living in Israel.

The social networking site changed its personal information settings.

Residents of some Golan towns previously had only been given the option of listing Syria in the Hometown section.

The media watchdog group Honest Reporting, based in Jerusalem, took credit Wednesday for the change. Two weeks ago, Honest Reporting launched a Facebook group called "Facebook, Golan Residents Live in Israel, not Syria."

"It is not for Facebook to decide the national origin of Golan residents," the group’s page said.

An e-mail Wednesday from Honest Reporting to its supporters said that "over 2,500 of you responded by joining our Facebook group calling for a change of policy and Facebook heard your voices. Thanks to all of the members of this group, Facebook has changed its settings and now applies the same policy for Golan residents as it does for the West Bank. When people scroll down, they will see the name of the town with Israel written below it, identifying it as part of Israel."

The e-mail goes on to say, "However, just as with the West Bank, Golan residents still cannot choose to have the word Israel appear in the Hometown line."

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