JERUSALEM (JTA) — Facebook and its co-founder Mark Zuckerberg are being sued for more than $1 billion for not immediately taking down a page calling for a Third Intifada against Israel.
The lawsuit was filed March 31 in U.S. District Court in Washington on behalf of Larry Klayman, an attorney and activist who is described in the filing as "an American citizen of Jewish origin" who is "active in all matters concerning the security of Israel and its people." Klayman is the founder of Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest group.
Facebook removed the "Third Palestinian Intifada" page on March 29 after it had been up for a couple of weeks and garnered 350,000 friends. Israel’s minister of diplomacy and Diaspora affairs,Yuli Edelstein, had sent a letter to Zuckerberg a week earlier asking for the page to be removed. The Anti-Defamation League also had called on Facebook to remove the page.
The page, which called for a third Palestinian uprising to begin May 15, included quotes and film clips calling for killing Jews and Israelis, and for "liberating" Jerusalem and Palestine using violence. It also directed users to related content on Twitter, YouTube and elsewhere on the Internet.
In the lawsuit, Klayman also calls on Facebook to remove from its site all pages using the words “Third Intifada” or any other pages that encourage violence toward Jews.
Facebook said it would fight the case, calling it “without merit,” the French news agency AFP reported.
Meanwhile, a new page with the same name already has attracted thousands of friends, according to reports.
Facebook did not release a statement on last week’s removal. But in a statement released to several media outlets in the days before the page’s removal, Facebook commented on the Third Palestinian Intifada page controversy.
“While some kinds of comments and content may be upsetting for someone — criticism of a certain culture, country, religion, lifestyle, or political ideology, for example — that alone is not a reason to remove the discussion," the statement said. "We strongly believe that Facebook users have the ability to express their opinions, and we don’t typically take down content, groups or pages that speak out against countries, religions, political entities, or ideas.”
Individual posts and comments on the page considered problematic were to be investigated by Facebook and removed, according to reports.