(JTA) – Shmuel Eliyahu, the chief rabbi of the Israeli city of Safed, ruled that advertising on Facebook against the social network’s policy constitutes theft.
The recent ruling was given in written form to a man who asked the rabbi whether it was forbidden according to Jewish law to advertise products or services on Facebook without paying the network for ad space – an activity that violates Facebook’s user terms, the news site nrg.co.il reported Thursday.
“It is forbidden to advertise on Facebook against their terms,” wrote Eliyahu, who is one of Israel’s most influential rabbis. “Facebook is a for-profit firm. Whether a substantial or small part of its earnings, advertising does constitute part of it. By bypassing their advertising, one reduces their earnings, which the firm has invested to maintain. Advertising against one’s commitment to Facebook and their terms is theft.”
In his query, the person who asked the rabbi about the issue noted that Facebook arguably makes money on any content, since “it means people spend more time online, increasing their exposure to ads that are bought from Facebook, meaning Facebook earns either way.”